The University of Iowa University of Iowa

Mission Creek: William Elliott Whitmore @ The Englert, 4/5/14


Musical acts Dave Moore, The Pines, and William Elliott Whitmore came together Saturday night for an event full of folk and americana music.

Iowa artist Dave Moore kicked off the night.  Moore and his band kept it simple.  Accompanied by a mandolin and bass player, the trio played a variety of easy going folk tunes.  The highlight of the performance was Moore’s harmonica solos which were powerful yet graceful, catching the attention of everyone in the audience.  Dave Moore and company helped to set the stage for what was to come.

The next act, The Pines, is a Minnesota based folk group.  While stylistically quite different from Moore, The Pines’ folk roots were present.  The band started off slowly, using electric keyboards to build a eerie ambiance underneath the guitars.  Singer Dan Ackerman’s soft vocals created a calming effect on the audience, allowing them to relax and enjoy the set.

And finally, it was time for headliner William Elliott Whitmore to take the stage.  It quickly became apparent that this was the man everyone came to see.  Just like Moore, Whitmore kept it simple.  Whitmore was alone on stage, switching off between his banjo and acoustic guitar while using a kick drum to the keep the beat.  The first song, “Cold and Dead”, was sung a cappella. Whitmore’s gruff but soothing voice echoed throughout the theater as fans cheered him on, sung the words, and clapped along.

Whitmore seemed to have a good relationship with the audience.  In between songs, he would walk towards the edge of the stage, shaking hands, accepting beers, and cracking jokes.  “This feels like the kind of place I’d be getting kicked out of” Whitmore said to the crowd about the Englert theater.  Later in the show, Whitmore attempted to explain why he does what he does.  “I think the best thing about music is that it brings us together and enjoy camaraderie” Whitmore said right before going into “Hell or High Water“, a favorite of not only mine, but probably many others judging by their reaction to the song.

Whitmore closed the show just as he started it.  “And though we may go our separate ways, our paths will cross again someday” Whitmore sang without the help of instruments.  It was the perfect ending to such an intimate and powerful show.

For more information on Mission Creek, visit their website here.