Music is in the air at Talk of the Nation this week... we started with Pinback Monday, and today we've got a fantastic collection of American songs featuring a couple performers who are — or will be — familiar to Talk listeners (remember Andrew Bird? He's got a song on the compilation. And stay tuned... we've got comp-contributors and bluegrass legends the Del McCoury Band coming to our air next week.). Last night I saw William Elliott Whitmore perform here in DC (while Barrie saw Josh Ritter... another TOTN alum), and was so blown away I just had to share it here. He's a young, white guy who grew up on a horse farm in Iowa beside the Mississippi river, and he sings American folk music (part blues, part country, part southern) with the voice of a man wise and weathered beyond his years. Listening to him makes me think of cornfields, smoky run-down honky-tonks, blackbirds, and whiskey, though if I saw him on the street I'd probably make up a backstory that was more about skateboarding and punk rock (and, yeah, whiskey). You've got to hear him to really understand, so here are a few songs, and stay tuned... I'm hoping to bring him to our own NPR HQ on his next tour in the Spring of 2008.