A man armed only with a banjo and a bass drum can be a formidable force, especially if his name is William Elliott Whitmore. With his powerful voice and honest approach, Whitmore comes from the land, growing up on a family farm in Lee County, Iowa. Still living on the same farm today, Whitmore has truly taken the time to discover where his center lies, and from that he will not be moved.
Whitmore has repeatedly carved his own path, honoring the longstanding tradition of folk music throughout his nearly 20 year career, while always allowing his blues, soul and punk rock influences to shine through. Getting his first break opening for his friend’s hardcore band with just a banjo in hand, he would discover bands like The Jesus Lizard, Bad Brains, Lungfish and Minutemen and soon learn to play his own brand of rural, roots music with that same DIY ethic.
William Elliott Whitmore has been back and forth across the United States and to cities around the world. He’s toured with such diverse acts as Frank Turner, Trampled By Turtles, Clutch and Chris Cornell to name a few. He’s appeared on some of the biggest stages around the world including Stagecoach Fest, Byron Bluesfest (Australia) and End of the Road Fest (UK). His willingness to take his show to any playing field has proved invaluable as he turned strangers to diehards with every performance.
The Local Honeys
Many artists are defined by place, but only a handful of artists come to define the places they’re from. The Local Honeys are Kentucky and Kentucky runs through their veins like an unbridled racehorse. When a master songsmith like Tom T. Hall calls an artist “a great credit to a wonderful Kentucky tradition” it’s time to pull up a chair and pay attention. As it pertains to The Local Honeys he was right on the money. For almost a decade the duo (Linda Jean Stokley and Montana Hobbs) have been an integral part of the Kentucky musicscape. They’ve paid their dues, garnering countless accolades and accomplishments (tours with Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, praise from the New York Times) and have become the defining sound of real deal, honest-to-God Kentucky music.
With their self-titled debut on La Honda Records (home of some of today’s most gifted songwriters, including Colter Wall, Riddy Arman, Vincent Neil Emerson), the duo have set forth on a journey to create something true to themselves while pushing the envelope within the traditions they hold dear. Carefully crafted vignettes of rural Kentucky soar above layers of deep grooves and rich tones masterfully curated by longtime mentor Jesse Wells, Grammy nominated producer and musician (Assistant Director at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State). “Jesse grew up with sisters. He was cut from the same cloth as us and we knew he would understand what we wanted to do.” What they ended up with is the most nuanced, moody, deep-holler sound they have captured to date. “This is the first time we’ve actively gotten to express who we are and where we’re from,” says Linda Jean. “The songs on the album speak for us,” adds Montana, “they’re about what we know, reflections of us as people. We realized we have the power to add our own narrative into Kentucky music.” Through that realization the two were able to uncover and dissect themes unique to Central Appalachia and in turn their own lives, capturing small moments in time that deliver thunderous results.