Whitmore to play sold-out show


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Outsiders may stereotype Iowa as full of rows of corn and possessing a monotonously horizontal landscape. But those of us in the state typically see things a little bit differently. One "insider," William Elliott Whitmore, a singer/songwriter from Lee County, believes that Iowa can be full of underrated inspirational wonders.

"I've always felt that where people come from greatly affects whatever they do and how someone's environment can create and shape what they do," Whitmore told The Daily Iowan. "I like to write about the landscape; I think Iowa's the most beautiful place in the world and underrated."

Whitmore will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St., as part of the Mission Creek Festival. Tickets are sold out.

The singer/songwriter possesses an impressive list of accomplishments in his career. He has released seven albums since 1999 and has consistently spent countless time on the road. His most impressive act may have been when he toured for "several months" with the legendary Irish punk band the Pogues.

"They are some of my favorite people; I toured with them for several months and got to be good friends with those guys," Whitmore said. "They showed me the utmost respect, and we drank a lot of Guinness and whiskey together, so it was a good time."

When on tour, Whitmore accompanies his voice with either a banjo or guitar. Although sometimes, he forgets the instruments altogether and performs a cappella. This practice evolved from Whitmore's time on the farm in Iowa when he was growing up — he used to entertain himself with his voice while doing chores on the farm.

"I grew up singing, and I really enjoy it as a way to put forth a song without any extra instrumentation," he said. "I grew up without a lot of people around, so it was just a way to entertain myself, and I still like to do that sometimes, just strip a song down to its bare bones."

Mission Creek Marketing Director Zoey Miller said Whitmore has deep roots in Iowa, and that has to do a lot with the kind of music Iowans enjoy.

"There is a strong tie to Americana music here, and [Whitmore] has very strong ties to Iowa," she said. "[Whitmore] has been recording here a long time and has played every venue you could imagine in Iowa City. His coming to the Englert is a sign about how Iowa City supports that type of music."

Englert Executive Director Andre Perry said this festival brings delight to the whole city.

"Anytime you can bring excitement around your venue and have four or five days with packed shows and an audience to view the art, it's great," Perry said.

Joining the stage with Whitmore at this year's Mission Creek Festival will be a band that also calls the Midwest its home, the Pines. David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey founded the group in Arizona in a Mexican barrio. Huckfelt said the Pines draws inspiration from everywhere the members have been.

"Everything contributes, but we just happened to be living in Tuscon," Huckfelt said. "But every place we've lived has been part of a mix of the Pines; Tuscon just happened to be the most random."

The Pines' music has been described as "haunting," and Huckfelt said he wants the music to move the audience in new directions emotionally.

"We were primarily interested in the nature of songs but also the soundscape that can take you to a different kind of place emotionally, so we just try to create a little transcendence," Huckfelt said. "We hope to get into a different zone at our shows and with our audience."

In the future, the Pines would like to release another album, and it is in the beginning stages of creating songs. Huckfelt said when the time comes, the members will push the album to the limit.

"We are working organically at the beginning of a new record process," he said. "In the meantime, we are touring around the Midwest, living [HUH?] all the air into the operation that we can, and then recharging into a new record."

When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Englert, 211 E. Washington
Admission: Tickets are sold out

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