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Classic Delta blues takes a detour to Iowa’s fields

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — His rugged, raspy voice is from another era, a time when blues were the soundtrack of life on the Mississippi Delta.

So where did a 32-year-old musician from Lee County, Iowa, get his voice?

“It’s something I learned I had when I was growing up,” William Elliott Whitmore said during a recent phone interview. “Growing up in isolation on a farm, I would sing to myself. That’s when I realized I had a gift.”

William Elliott Whitmore
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday, May 8
WHERE: Santa Fe Brewing Co., 27 Fire Place in Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $10, tickets available at

Whitmore sings the blues, and he does it well.

His parents owned a farm, which he now owns, and he pushed himself into the music industry at a young age. As a teenager he learned to play guitar and banjo.

“Although I learned the instruments, singing is my main joy,” he said. “I enjoy trying to do tricks with my voice.”

Whitmore is gearing up for the release of his album “Field Dreams,” which will come out on July 12. But first, he’s on tour with Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell.

“Chris needed an opener and I was chosen,” he said. “It’s been great tour because I’m able to show off my music.”

Whitmore said his goal for “Field Dreams” was to give the audience an insight on how life was growing up in a rural area. He used a field recorder to record sounds in nature and incorporated them into his music.

“I want the music to be an escape for the audience,” he said. “When you hear a creek running, it’s actually a creek near my house that I recorded.”

Despite growing up on a farm, Whitmore said his parents traveled the United States on a regular basis. And one of those destinations was the Duke City.

“I have a special place in my heart for New Mexico and Albuquerque,” he said. “My dad really liked it and he always wanted to move out there.”

Cutline – Blues singer William Elliott Whitmore says New Mexico was like a second home to him while growing up.