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William Whitmore

Animals in the Dark

March 3rd, 2009 · post by Ganglar · Make a comment

Sandwiched between ‘Send More Paramedics’ and ‘Modern Life is War’, on the same bill supporting ‘Converge’, is definitely not the normal point in a show where you’d expect to be introduced to an artist like William Whitmore, but I’m definitely grateful I was at that gig at TJ’s a few years ago to enjoy a somewhat out-of-place, but fantastic set of completely different music on an otherwise all-out thrash/ hardcore night.

It tells you instantly just how good this guy is, that he commands admiration and wins fans at pretty much any venue, playing to any kind of music fan particularly though in the punk and roots communities.

Whitmore plays an equal mix of uplifting and melancholy soulful, bluegrass folk music, with a voice that sounds wonderfully weathered beyond his years, backed up simply, but effectively and appropriately, with banjo, guitar or drums.

This latest album, his first on ANTI-, really picks up where Songs of The Blackbird left off, there’s no real surprises in the sound or vocals, but I personally think it’s certainly not broke and therefore doesn’t need fixin’.

Mutiny’s a curious choice for the opening track, slightly daring as it’s quite understated compared to some, with just vocals and drums pounding out in the background, but definitely pulled off, albeit with a slightly odd ending!

Whitmore’s softer, sadder, more earthy tunes have always been my personal favourites, and “Who Stole the Soul” is certainly up among some his best for that type of stuff. “Hell or High Water”, and “A Good Day to Die”, also stand out for me in a similar vein – just beautiful songs that I can’t imagine anyone performing any better.

The rest of the album’s very good too, and of course there’s many that’ll prefer the happier, bouncy banjo tunes to the slower stuff. There’s perhaps a few more cheeky political references in there than previous releases, although still relating to Whitmore’s life which give his songs a real authenticity and presence, similar to the effect you get from the likes of Paul Baribeau.

Amazing, I’d wholly recommend this or any of his previous albums.

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