William Elliott Whitmore Radium Death on LP + Download
Known for the sparse, haunting qualities of his mostly solo recordings of what he refers to as “roots-folk music,” in which his husky voice is often accompanied by little more than a banjo or acoustic guitar, William Elliott Whitmore sought to add some new pitches to his bullpen for his new ANTI- release Radium Death. “I purposefully went into it wanting to make a little bit of a departure, sonically, using an electric guitar a little bit more and adding more instrumentation, more full-band type stuff,” says Whitmore. “I wanted to switch it up a little bit and plug in to see what that felt like."
“I was reading a lot about the so-called ‘radium girls’ of the early 1900’s, these assembly lines of women painting watch dials with radium to make them glow in the dark,” he adds, detailing how the workers would lick the tips of their paintbrushes to get them pointy while dipping them repeatedly into the chemical substance before it was known to be dangerous. “So, in my mind ‘radium death’ came to represent something that you’re told is good for you - maybe by a higher power - but really is killing you. It represents those lies that are told, and how we can protect ourselves against them.”
The songs assembled, while not a concept album, present a cohesive look into those recurring Whitmore themes of respect, protection, sustenance and survival. The blazing (even by WEW standards) opener, “Healing To Do,” pulls no punches, kicking in immediately with the rhythmic shuffle of a full band, an organ, and Whitmore’s upbeat rasp. The pace continues with songs like “Trouble in Your Heart,” “1000 Deaths” and “Don’t Strike Me Down,” preaching patient hope, rebirth, renewal, and revolt over stomping drums, acoustic strumming and even an electric guitar solo.
William Elliott Whitmore Radium Death Track Listing:
1. Healing to Do
3. Trouble in Your Heart
4. A Thousand Deaths
5. Go On Home
6. Don’t Strike Me Down
7. Can’t Go Back
8. South Lee County Brew
9. Have Mercy
10. Ain’t Gone Yet