Middle Western is a lesser known band from the Iowa area featuring banjo wielding badass William Elliott Whitmore and key tickler David Zollo as the two headed monster singing songs. The two established singer/songwriters split the duty here with 4 songs each.
Don’t let these facts lead you to believe that this sounds like a split EP or album though. Make no mistake about it that this is a band effort and sounds as such. For both writers the group provides a little different presentation for their songwriting which makes it unique for fans of each artist. Whitmore keeps to his standard topics on songs like “Help Me” and “Put Your Hands Where I Can See.” The latter being a slower burning tune that will make you grateful he has a full band backing instead of his standard more stripped down style. On Zollo’s “Off The Rails” you’ll hear a hard driving 70s style groove filled with raunchy guitar. Zollo scowls into the mic “Just because you’re young, don’t mean you’re innocent” dialing up the intensity of the rocker making it one of the best songs on the album. On the far more relaxed “These Pills” you’ll find Zollo sounding like he was displaced from The Band in their heyday as the keyboards guide the song. More vintage Whitmore follows with a rumbling “Creature of Habit” and a drawn out reflective, piano driven “Byron Leftwich” eclipses 8 minutes of Dylan like lyricism for Zollo closing out the album.
The album is a fun listen, sometimes you can hear the mood of the recording sessions in the music and Middle Western’s debut album is definitely one of them and is without a doubt worth seeking out.
Key tracks: “Put Your Hands Where I Can See” “Off The Rails” “Help Me”