“William Elliott Whitmore lyrically similar to Johnny Cash.”

By Jason Tanamor

William Elliott Whitmore always knew he wanted to be a musician. “I got into music at age five, when I could first comprehend how important sounds were,” Whitmore said. “Hearing my parents’ country music records made me want to sing.”

For the singer and songwriter, who was born and raised on a horse farm in Lee County, Iowa, he does just that. “I play in the traditional hillbilly style with a heavy blues influence. My songs are about everything that’s real; death, life, loss and regret,” said Whitmore.

That’s pretty impressive for a man who lives on a farm in Iowa and still does work around it. “Being a musician is the only job I have that pays. My other jobs on the farm include fence builder, firewood splitter, gardener, and all around laborer,” said Whitmore.

Having grown up with musical influences like Ray Charles, Howlin Wolf and Jimmie Rodgers, Whitmore credits “their simple style of writing” for drawing him in from the beginning. “Every song is written differently. There’s no process, just an expression of feelings,” Whitmore said.

Those influences can be heard in Whitmore’s new album, “Animals In The Dark,” a record that consists of 10 new original songs.

Other songs on the album include “Mutiny,” “Old Devils,” and “Hard Times,” which have already drawn comparisons lyrically to the great Johnny Cash. “Lyrics have always been my main focus, and they always come first,” Whitmore said. “The sound is important as well. You can’t have a good roof without a good foundation first.”

And even though the new album has had critical success, Whitmore doesn’t desire commercial success or “hitting it big.” According to the musician, “my goals concerning music have always been the same - to have a good time and keep grounded,” a far cry from what reality shows offer. “I think shows like American Idol are horrible and misleading to youth. They’ve taken the soul out of music and skipped right to the adulation,” Whitmore said. “It’s bad for aspiring musicians to watch such a thing.” As for the audience that attends his shows, Whitmore would like them to in some way “feel what I feel, to maybe relate to what I’m saying on some level.”

With the continuous touring and traveling around the world, Whitmore is always more than happy to be playing back home in Iowa. “Playing around the area where I live is a good feeling because the people know me and they know my story,” Whitmore said. “But playing anywhere makes me feel fortunate. Traveling can get tiresome, but when you’ve dug as many ditches and shoveled as much horse manure as I have, comparatively it’s a breeze. I never question my validity.”


Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.

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