‘This Land’ by Whetherman (Album)

18 June, 2017 in Music Reviews

Whetherman

Whetherman: the moniker of nomadic folk singer-songwriter Nicholas Williams.

It’s well worth listening to troubadour Nicholas Williams as he ponders the state of America on this nomadic folk record

Whetherman 'This Land' album coverThe new Whetherman album might begin with a delicate whistle on Six Rivers but don’t let its breezy opening fool you; the music may be pleasing on the ear but the content is anything but slight. This collection of songs by Nicholas Williams is a contemplative commentary on the current state of America which pays homage to the collective messages spread by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger of ‘this land was made for you and me.’

His nomadic folk is the perfect canvas for the topic. The Hold Up highlights how the current state of affairs can devastate ordinary people, documenting a family on the brink of ruin and a man struggling to keep it together. What Am I Supposed To Think is a lyrical commentary on the tweets of Donald Trump whose simple acoustic backing, complete with soulful blasts of harmonica, is the backdrop over which Williams questions his country’s president. The title track has shades of early Dylan as it tackles the wider issue of the environment and the wreckage we’re leaving behind.

Stylistically, the album doesn’t stray far from this path of tormented troubadour. As with those who inspired him, a guitar, harmonica and few choice words are the tools needed to get the message across. The occasional splash of extra instrumentation helps tracks like All About Nothing change the dynamic. But more than anything else, this is an album with a worthwhile message on which Williams has done Guthrie and Seeger proud.

Verdict: The spirit of protest lives on

Duncan Haskell