SLUG Mag Soundwaves
SLUG Mag Soundwaves
Episode #444 – Review: Whisperhawk's Keepers of the Earth Vol. 2

SLUG Soundwaves is back with another episode of Soundwaves Reviews, where we give our listeners an audible edition of our online music reviews, read by the author themself. In this episode, SLUG Junior Editor Asha Pruitt reads her review of Whisperhawk’s Keepers of the Earth Vol. 2, released on November 2, 2023. 

Whisperhawk is the project of Northwestern Shoshone singer-songwriter Michael Gross, formerly of The Statuettes. Gross is a prolific local musician, with over 29 releases on bandcamp from 2018 to today, and his musical origins go as far back as 2004, where he played guitar and sang in The Brobecks right alongside Dallon Weekes. In April, Gross remastered the album Understanding the Brobecks all on his own to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary. 

Keepers of the Earth came out in 2020 and featured a full band made up of Aaron Hubbard, Matt Glass, Doug Oberhamer and Josh Hight. While Gross often collaborates with other local musicians, he doesn’t keep a regular group. Keepers of the Earth Vol. 2 was entirely written, performed, recorded and mixed by Gross alone—it “establishes Whisperhawk as a storyteller above all else,” Pruitt says. In this episode, she compares Whisperhawk to John Prine and Slaughter Beach, Dog

Gross is one of Salt Lake City’s few Native American musicians. While this state was once home eight distinct tribes, many of those people have now been relegated to two small reservations that are underserved and underfunded. You’d think that with the previously large amount of Native peoples in Utah’s history that many of our artists and musicians would have a Native background, but with a nearly 90% white population across the state, there is little room for Native musicians to thrive. All the more reason, then, to listen to Keepers of the Earth Vol. 2 and keep a close ear to the ground for Gross’ next masterfully crafted story.