What needs to be said about William Elliott Whitmore at this point? Over the course of an impressive career that’s spanned more than two decades, the folk legend has performed all around the world, shared the stage with an abundance of renowned musicians, and released seven outstanding albums. Before he was captivating crowds far and wide with his quality catalog and his incomparable voice, Whitmore was lugging gear for Ten Grand and he—and his trusty banjo—were winning over audiences at punk shows as the band’s opening act.

Recently, around the time his Dope Walker side project was preparing to release its debut album, My First Band host Tyler Maas was able to get Whitmore away from his family for long enough to run through his extensive and immensely interesting career. Over the course of the conversation, Whitmore discussed being a new dad, isolating on his Iowa farm, and ways the pandemic has changed both his tour and album schedules.

Along the way, the Midwestern music mainstay talked about inheriting his grandfather’s banjo, finding success in a solo capacity, the creative itch projects like Dope Walker and Hallways Of Always scratch, and some of the life-changing experiences he’s had over the past 20-plus years. Before episode’s end, the pair also relive memorable Wisconsin shows at places like Cactus Club and Cranky Pat’s and mention mutual friends they have.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”), Dope Walker (“These Freaks”), and William Elliott Whitmore (“Dry”).