“Field Songs” is the fifth album by William Elliott Whitmore, and it provides listeners with some of the most touching and compelling music of Whitmore’s career. The tracks on Field Songs unite into one cohesive entity – while the different tracks on the album can be enjoyed alone, I feel that there are is a considerable amount of intertrack interplay that one has to listen to to properly get what Whitmore attempts here. Along the way, Whitmore provides listeners with a look into a more pastoral America, one that continues to be encroached upon with the creation of each strip mall and housing development.
This sentiment is fostered through the album’s entirety, reaching a fever pitch with “Not Feeling Any Pain”. The track speaks to the sheer anomie felt by Whitmore at the disappearance of eir America; this album represents for many the only possible connection that could be had to the more bucolic America described here. The arrangements that are present during “Field Songs” further this discussion. Touching upon traditional American music like folk, bluegrass, and country, there is a truly organic feel fostered in tracks like “Everything Gets Done” and “Let’s Do Something Impossible”.
The album’s structure seems to parallel what Whitmore discusses on the disc; there is a rapid expansion of the styles, sounds, and approaches taken in the early part of the disc, a gradual entrenchment of these, and then a breakdown into chaos and a more focused sound during “Get There From Here” and “We’ll Carry On”. “Field Songs” is a tremendously interesting album, and should be sought out not only by fans of Whitmore but for those that wish to hear in music what has happened all across the United States.
Top Tracks: Bury Your Burdens in the Ground, Everything Gets Done
William Elliott Whitmore – Field Songs (CD) / 2011 Anti / 8 Tracks / http://www.WilliamElliottWhitmore.com / http://www.anti.com