Aside from being an obscure nu-metal tune from the late 90's and a classic Seinfeld sketch, the subject at hand befits the setting for William Elliot Whitmore's free set at the plush-looking City Winery in lower Manhattan yesterday. Far from being awkward, however, Mr Whitmore (William? Billy??) made everyone from the hipsters to those in the Trump Soho space feel at home, by lightly poking fun at the situation ("I'd usually be thrown out of places like this...but I feel at home on the loading dock") and playing the role of wine connoisseur ("Smells good....tastes good").
I've hinted at how good I expected the man's latest, "Animals In The Dark", to be earlier this year, but have been remiss in not picking it up to date. I've heard plenty of it, nonetheless, with many of these favourites present in Whitmore's post-work set here as part of the Hudson Square free series. Switching between standard acoustic geetar and a slightly detuned but satisfyingly twang-heavy banjo, Whitmore provided a soulful set, heavy on the blues yet light-hearted in the contented summer delivery.
MP3: William Elliott Whitmore - From the Cell Door to the Gallows
Taken from 2005's "Hymns For The Hopeless"
With a deep, gravelly country drawl, Whitmore is every inch the farm boy in the big city. His amiable and effusive between song banter - not to mention hand-shaking with the entire front row - marks him out as a fella who genuinely loves playing music in any setting, the kind of entertainer we all enjoy watching.
Offset against the rush hour in NYC and the heavier subject matter of set highlights like Old Devils and Hell or High Water, his infectious enthusiasm transports us temporarily to another place in the way all good live music should. If all the remaining artists are able to provide such an experience, I can certainly see myself back at this swanky loading dock for future performances.
Now playing: Mississippi Fred McDowell - Done Left Here