Folk music. Alright, those you got past those two words pay attention to the next three words. William Elliott Whitmore. This man changed what I thought about folk music. His voice is other worldly. People don’t sing like him anymore. We are talking Sam Cooke level of singing here, but a completely different genre of music. I’ve met William and seen him play live and the way he captures the attention of an entire room is mesmerizing. His 2011 album, “Field Songs” has been in constant rotation since it came out.
I don’t know if his 2015 effort, “Radium Death”, is going to top it, but it’s going to come close. It’s similar in style of modern folk music with soulful vocals, but some of the songs feature a full band. It’s great to hear the songs fleshed out and be all that they can be. I love the intimate nature of acoustic songs, but I’m glad William isn’t pigeonholing himself into a one man band.
“Civilizations” speaks of wanting to live in the moment without distraction. Much of his songs talk of this idealistic lifestyle. As technology advances it has become harder to appreciate what naturally occurs around us. This is part of the reason I think folk music has a sense of magic to it. The working man is something that is taken for granted these days. I have been guilty of it myself. Not appreciating how the things I use and purchase on a daily basis are made.
People often even take for granted how their newspaper gets to them. The struggle newspaper carriers go through to deliver a product in the middle of the night in sometimes absurd conditions. It’s not a job on the same level as mail delivery. Take the time to thank the people who provide you services. Even that cashier giving you that coffee in the morning. It makes a difference, trust me.
“Trouble in Your Heart” follows “Civilizations” and is another subject William often visits. Hardship is something we all experience. There’s probably a million songs about it, and there will be a million more. Love and pain are two things that are easiest to write about in the sense that we feel the emotions all the time. However, when William Elliott Whitmore sings about hardship and encourages the listener to get through theirs, you believe him. He’s not a therapist. There’s not some crazy psychological metaphor in his songs, but there’s a friendly voice telling you it’s going to be alright. Sometimes, that’s all someone needs to make their day a little better. And sometimes, just sometimes, that’s all someone needs to save their life.
If you need an album to relax to or just need to feel a little better. Listen to “Radium Death” or “Field Songs” by William Elliott Whitmore. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to “Bury Your Burdens in the Ground” when I get stressed out. I always feel better after listening to just a few of his songs. You can’t help but be entranced by his positivity through the pain he speaks of. He’s a simple man with a simple message. No matter what happens in your life, it will be alright, and you’ll get through it.
I’ll let the music speak for itself.