William Elliott Whitmore
Despite the palpable pop-culture crack unleashed by the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack nearly a decade ago, the mining of Depression-era American roots has been primarily relegated to the outskirts of contemporary music. But thanks (or no thanks) to our own hard times, the channeling of pre-rock country blues, when done well, is starting to feel less like artsy scholarship and more like a CNN ticker with way more soul. William Elliott Whitmore, a 30-year-old with a 100-year-old croak of a voice, spins sparsely accompanied Technicolor tales about living and dying on the land. Born, raised and still residing on an Iowa farm, Whitmore aims his latest and most socially blunt LP, Animals in the Dark, squarely at the ruling class, clamoring for righteous mutiny with banjo in hand.