Outlaws & Angels | Middle Western: Featuring William Elliot Whitmore & David Zollo, and Jolie Holland & Samantha Parton


Fairfest at the Sondheim Series

Ticket Information

ZONE 1 | $25
ZONE 2 | $18
ZONE 3 | $15
ZONE 4 | $15

Iowa OUTLAWS WILLIAM ELLIOT WHITMORE and DAVE ZOLLO bring their songwriting super group, MIDDLE WESTERN to the Sondheim to share the stage in a double-headlining show with San Francisco ANGELS, JOLIE HOLLAND & SAMANTHA PARTON. This rare opportunity brings four of America's greatest songwriters together in what is being called, a night of poets and prophets.  

MIDDLE WESTERN, featuring WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE & DAVE ZOLLO along with STEVIE DOYLE & BRIAN COOPER will charge through a set of bluesy, roots-rock, while Zollo and Whitmore alternate taking the lead vocals on different songs. Middle Western brings together the influences and talents of its members to create something unique and familiar.

Merging the unique piano, strings and singing styles of its two front men, Paste Magazine recently named Middle Western as one of the "9 Best Things We Saw at Daytrotter Downs," which is Daytrotter's annual festival in Davenport. Despite Whitmore and Zollo having decades of experience between them, Middle Western is still a relatively new collaboration.

MIDDLE WESTERN is the culmination of almost 20 years of friendship and discussion between well-known Iowa singer-songwriters William Elliot Whitmore, from Montrose and David Zollo, from Iowa City, and Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, sideman, and producer, Stephen "The Kid" Howard. Zollo and Howard played together in The Body Electric, the band Zollo formed after his first group, High and Lonesome, disbanded, and both played on recordings of Whitmore's.

In 2011 the three began performing together, along with Body Electric drummer Brian Cooper, under Whitmore and Zollo's names, but the idea of forming a group that would write together and employ multiple singers, began taking shape.

In 2015, with the addition of Chicago-based lead guitarist Steve Doyle, Middle Western was born. Work began immediately on writing songs for a debut recording, which was begun at Iowa City's Flat Black Studios in March 2017. With Whitmore moving to bass guitar and Howard playing lead and rhythm electric guitars; Doyle on all manner of slide guitars; Zollo on keys and Cooper on drums, and Whitmore, Zollo and Howard sharing singing duties, Middle Western mixes the members many, varied, influences to create a sound that is both comfortable yet distinctive. From punk rock to New Orleans-inspired piano stompers, and everything in between, the band has a sound that is, frankly, Middle Western in nature.


JOLIE HOLLAND & SAMANTHA PARTON, the two original founders of wildly popular THE BE GOOD TANYAS, have joined forces once again to create a newly inspired duo of songwriters. Holland, a singer with an immediately arresting voice and Parton, joins in with breathtaking harmonies, will be presenting fresh arrangements of Be Good Tanyas material, as well as songs from their separate catalogs. Their new project, as always, is a page from the big book of North Americana and outsider folk.

It's been fifteen years since Holland and Parton, two of the original founders of the wildly popular The Be Good Tanyas, first joined forces. Jolie had grown up in Texas, and by her teens was performing as a traveling musician. In the mid-'90s, San Francisco was home for a time before she made her way to Vancouver and co-founded the group.  Vancouver singer-songwriter Samantha Parton had spent her post-high school years traveling with her guitar, and drawing strong musical influence from visits to the southern US. Jolie contributed to the Tanyas' Blue Horse LP in 2001 before moving back to San Francisco. Samantha continued to tour and record with The Be Good Tanyas until two car accidents and other health concerns took her off the road in 2012.

Jolie & Samantha are touring in support of the critically acclaimed, Wildflower Blues, a page from the big book of North Americana and outsider folk. Following the nearly two decade hiatus, Jolie & Samantha, begin  a new chapter in their ever-evolving creative songwriting relationship.

On the album's ten tracks, they weave together influences spanning jazz, blues, country, folk, rock, experimental, and the great wide history of American song, into their own kind of soul music. Wildflower Blues features mostly original tracks written by Holland and Parton, as well as reimagined versions of songs by Bob Dylan, Michael Hurley, and Townes Van Zandt. Despite this sonic vastness, there is a deep intimacy running through everything the pair creates. The duo's songwriting is at the forefront throughout—emotive and raw, marrying words and sound to both the dark and light corners of life

View Brochure