Musical Rooms

September 16, 2009

Musical Rooms Part 87: William E. Whitmore

Filed under: Interviews,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 12:38 pm


“The space where I create music is my cabin in Lee county Iowa, on the family farm. It’s in the middle of nowhere in the woods. The cabin itself was built by me over the course of the last few years inbetween tours. I made it out of recycled barn-wood that I found myself. It’s very rustic and well worn and it’s special to my heart. A lot of the materials were gathered with the help of my father before he passed away, so it’s like a tribute to him and his spirit. I have a collection of stringed instruments including acoustic and electric guitars, banjos, lap steels, a dobro, a violin and several home-made cigar-box guitars. I’ve got a few amplifiers and a mess of noise making devices such as shakers, drums, and wood blocks. The most important things for me are the banjos, guitars, a snare drum and my song notebook. I also have piles of books and records for inspiration.

When I’m not on tour I spend all my time here as it is also my living space. The line between inspiration and life is non-existent. My south window looks over the horse pasture and the hills and woods just beyond. These are the elements of song. Isolation is important although I do gather ideas from others at times and I find the creative process is a living, breathing thing that wakes up with me and follows me to bed at night. It grows in the same way that trees grow and with nourishment it can flourish and take root. Just like a tree, it can die without proper care.

My equipment is simple; pen, paper, instruments and a pot of strong coffee. Around about sundown the coffee turns to whiskey, just like magic. The muse and I tangle back and forth until an agreement is reached. What I like most about my creative environment is that it exists where I grew up and feel most at ease. The space itself is like an instrument to be played.”

Hailing from a horse farm along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, William Elliott Whitmore has developed an intense love and spiritual understanding of the land, which he flawlessly conveys through all of his records. genuity. Born, raised and still residing on a farm in Lee County, Iowa, Whitmore literally cultivates his song cycles from earth. He released Song of the Blackbird (2006), Ashes to Dust (2005), Hymn for the Hopeless (2003) and Calendar Club of Danger and Fun (2002) while working his land. He plays Whelan’s this Sunday, September 20th. Doors are 8pm and tickets are €13 plus booking fee from WAV Box-Office (Lo-Call 1890 200 078), City Discs, and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. For more information, visit

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