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Murder by Death, William Elliott Whitmore on first joint tour in decade

The friendship between Adam Turla and William Elliott Whitmore is one of mutual respect.

Nearly two decades ago, the musicians met while Whitmore was a roadie for a mutual friend’s band.

William Elliott Whitmore is touring in support of his album “Kilonova.” (SOURCE: Chris Casella)

“While they would set up to play, he would pull out a banjo and play a song or two. Ten seconds after he opened his mouth, the room would be silent and stunned,” Turla says of Whitmore. “He engaged people with that huge voice and captivated everyone, myself included. I wore out the first cassette(!) I had of his recordings, and was thrilled when he started taking the stage and playing full shows like the pro musician I knew he was.”

Whitmore began doing shows with the Turla-led Murder by Death in 2000.

“Between the years 2000 and 2008, we did many tours and dozens of shows together coast to coast and into Canada. I sang on an early song of theirs called ‘Until Morale improves the Beatings Will Continue,’ doing the vocal take over the phone, a pay phone (tells you how long ago it was) while I was on tour and they were in the studio,” Whitmore says. “We did a split 7-inch together too. We’ve been through a lot together, and I consider them good friends. Now all these years later, we’re on the same record label. This year marks a decade since we’ve last toured together, and I’m honored they would have me.”

Both Murder by Death and Whitmore are now signed to Bloodshot Records and are touring together for the first time in 10 years.

To top that off, both have new albums – Murder by Death’s “The Other Shore” was released on Aug. 24, and Whitmore’s “Kilonova” is out today.

Turla began writing material for the new album nearly three years ago.

And he took his time.

“My process is very slow,” Turla says. “I start by collecting ideas to get a sense of where I’m going. Then it’s an open book. I put it out there. This album is the next chapter in our career.”

Meanwhile, Whitmore echoes Turla’s words.

“I write the same way,” Whitmore says. “It takes me a while and I have notebooks and notes everywhere. I’m envious of the people that can turn out new music quickly. My new album consists of cover songs, and I enjoyed the process of putting myself into them.”

Late summer and early fall is the perfect time to be on the road, Turla says.

“You’re not worried about snowstorms or anything like that,” Turla says. “We’re also getting to play some rooms on this tour that we’re excited about. When we started routing the tour, I saw Meow Wolf on the list and knew we had to just go.”

Another stop on the tour is the The Fillmore in San Francisco.

“I think the last time we were on tour together, we played the Fillmore,” Whitmore says. “It’s a thrill to be on tour with a band that I consider friends. That makes it so much better, because we get along. We have the entire tour to catch up.”

Turla and Whitmore are looking forward to the stop at Meow Wolf tonight.

The anticipation is so big that Turla decided to begin the tour in Santa Fe.

“We’ve heard so many great things about the venue,” Turla says. “We’re getting there a day early to check out the entire thing.”

Whitmore has heard about the venue from friends who live in Santa Fe and hopes to take in the entire experience.

“I’m from Iowa, and I always look forward to having the food in New Mexico,” Whitmore says. “That’s one of the best parts about doing shows out in New Mexico. The food is so amazing.”

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