William Elliott Whitmore
With a voice sounding like Tom Waits gargling broken glass and with the meanest picking skills this side of Deliverance, William Elliott Whitmore is known in some circles as the hillbilly Ray Charles. Pigeonholing aside, this bluesy troubadour is taking his one-man revival show of murder ballads and redemption songs back on the road. Performing with little more than a banjo and a stool, Whitmore’s performance is mesmerizing enough to stun even the most jaded rock snob. His music — whether protest songs from last year’s Animals in the Dark or gallows tunes from his debut, Hymns for the Hopeless — is informed by an authentically rustic lifestyle. The man still lives on his family farm in rural Iowa that doesn’t have a toilet, just an outhouse.