> Iowa > 50 Bands / 50 States 2008 > Boston Phoenix 50 Bands 50 States



CITY: Iowa

Death Ships

All-Time Best Band: The Everly Brothers
All-Time Best Solo Artist: William Elliott Whitmore
Best New Band: Death Ships

Let’s see, Don was born in Kentucky, Phil was born in Illinois, clearly we need a compromise . . . Iowa! Hilarious geography jokes aside, the EVERLY BROTHERS didn’t really become a “band” until Pa Everly moved the family to the Hawkeye State and got his own radio show in Shenandoah, on which his sons became regulars. It was from there that they launched their Beatles-influencing, Rock and Roll and Country Hall of Fame career as a duo, before, like so many sibling acts, refusing to talk to each other for a decade. | Montrose’s WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE sounds 79, but that’s just when he was born. He’s still a little too young for full-fledged world-weariness, and happily, he doesn’t feign it. Dour as his blues-wrenched ballads may often be, there’s a spirit of contentment and possibility at work there that lifts them above rehash or homage and into the realm of the sublime. | Iowa City’s DEATH SHIPS aren’t nearly as gloomy as their name suggests; instead, they proffer lovely, lilting pop that any frustrated Elephant 6 refugee would find a perfect fit for his/her strangefolk voids.

Video: Everly Brothers
Video: William Elliott Whitmore

Listen: Everly Brothers, "All I Have To Do Is Dream"

Listen: William Elliott Whitmore, "Take it on the Chin"

Listen: Death Ships, "Story Never Gets Old"

_Nina MacLaughlin