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Ashes to Dust

13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 22, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Repressed, new lower price. Hailing from an Iowa horse farm along the banks of the Mississippi River,Whitmore's intense love & spiritual understanding of the land is flawlessly conveyed on his 2nd release. His voice sound decades older than his tattered birth certificate indicates, garnering comparisons to the gravelly voice of Tom Waits & the lyrical story telling of Johnny Cash. Dark tales of life, love , lonliness & loss will haunt you long after you hear them.

Amazon.com

Though the gravel and dirt in his voice have earned this Iowa artist comparisons with Tom Waits, those with longer memories might recognize Captain Beefheart as a closer soundalike. With his stripped-down instrumentation of banjo and guitar--occasionally augmented by a bare-bones band--William Elliott Whitmore taps into the most primal themes of inescapable death and unforgivable sin. Amid the funereal blues of "Diggin' My Grave" and "The Buzzards Won't Cry" and the dying farmer's request on the closing "Porchlight" (punctuated with a tubercular-sounding cough as a coda), the comparatively tender "When Push Comes to Love" brings melodic relief and the classic country waltz "Sorest of Eyes" has a hint of a lilt. Otherwise, the artistry is as bleak as the Samuel Beckett epigram on the liner, as the music takes a cold, hard look at mortality and evokes the slimmest hope of redemption. --Don McLeese


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Midnight 3:34$0.89  Buy MP3 
  2. The Day the End Finally Came 4:18$0.89  Buy MP3 
  3. When Push Comes to Love 3:50$0.89  Buy MP3 
  4. Diggin' My Grave 4:06$0.89  Buy MP3 
  5. The Buzzards Won't Cry 2:22$0.89  Buy MP3 
  6. Sorest of Eyes 3:30$0.89  Buy MP3 
  7. Lift My Jug (Song for Hub Cale) 3:36$0.89  Buy MP3 
  8. Gravel Road 3:52$0.89  Buy MP3 
  9. Porchlight 5:47$0.89  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Southern Records
  • ASIN: B00074WMR8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,725 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D. Nelson on April 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I can certainly hear the Tom Waits references, but there's no Beat Generation at work here at all. Captain Beefheart is a better click, especially thinking about CB's almost-mainstream "Clear Spot" album. WEW has a much less rangy voice than the Captain's 4 1/2 octaves, and his lyrical concerns are much less arty/underground, though burials do figure prominently...

What I liked best about this album was its fondness for the subject matter of working folks, but not in a studied, academic or ironic sense. While I like the Be Good Tanyas, for instance, they often irritate me, in part because I hear so much Holy Modal Rounders in their arrangements and even vocals. Both of these groups approach their work with an irreverence that often gets in the way of the song itself (of course, the Rounders were designed to be stoner "acid folk", which is an excuse if you actually lived through that errrrrra).

"Ashes to Dust" presents a decidedly mature take on old things. WEW is not a songster who takes on personas (Dylan, Springsteen), because there is always the sense that he is the guy in the song. Pretty hard to pull off and he does it on every cut this album. The arrangements are simple and contemporary, with his playing being noticeably improved over "Hymns." I love "Sorest Eye," "Hub Cale" and "Heart in Your Hand" in particular, with the latter's lines "You're a rainstorm, a fire and a trainwreck/All wrapped up in ribbons and lace" being up for an alltime-country writing award--both my male and female friends like the whole idea of that line, for the same reasons. This is really one hell of an album, and the growth Whitmore has shown makes me anxious to see what he does next. Duet with Gillian Welch? Mercy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Thomas L. Hall on June 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is powerful stuff. Whitmore has the idiosyncratic voice of an unholy fusion of Tom Waits, John Prine and Townes van Zandt. What the hell, a little of Larry McMurtry thrown in, too. His instrumental sense is reminiscent of the Harry Smith Anthology, that is sparse and unadorned. He is singing the blues but not what one would expect from a rural Iowan who is not yet thirty years old. My wife was very surprised when I told her that and she feels he is likely a reincarnated "old soul." This album is not for everybody but my wife, who despises Tom Waits and generally doesn't care for the blues, was favorably impressed as I obviously am.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By William R. Schmidt on January 23, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I just saw William Elliot Whitmore Live the other day near Chicago and I have to say he sounds exactly like his CD, but it is more amazing to see him live, he commands the audience and no one can speak a work once he opens his mouth. If you do not own any of his work then i suggest that you go and buy the best new artist around! ....and if I could give more than 5 stars I would
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Format: Audio CD
Until last night, I have never heard of William Elliott Whitmore. I heard this cd playing at a local coffee shop, and had to ask the proprietor who this was. My husband and I both loved his sound, so bluesy, with lots of guitar. We now have the cd Hymns for the Hopeless, we really like it, but it seems a little darker than this cd. Can't wait to own it!
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By Dawn on April 13, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I am so glad I found this mans music. He is truly a breath from the past with a mix of right now. His voice speaks volumes. I just purchased another album 2 days ago best buy. I cannot wait to see him live.

me
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By Tim M. on June 4, 2014
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I was blown away by William Eliott Whitmore the first times I heard him. Great songwriting, inventive and entertaining lyrics.
He's a phenomenal blend of blues, Americana and even a little rock.
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By Cody B on February 18, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love all of William elliott whitmore's albums! Never disappointed with any of the music. Recommended for anyone that likes good olé music
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