Why not invite your favourite independent musician to play for your friends family and his fans in your front room, I’ll be surprised if he/she won’t show up sometime this year and play for you, let me know about it and if The Medicine Show Radio Moose Mobile is loose is near enough we’ll come and broadcast it too. If you would like to help keep the wheels on the Hub and on The Moose become a patron at
Happy Hosting, Happy New Year - Rob Ellen
The Far West are five guys who, separately, found their way to L.A. and, after various musical adventures, discovered a shared enthusiasm for making a particular kind of country music. Throwing all their favourite ingredients into the mix, they’ve managed to produce something very fine and distinctive for this, their debut album. Harking back to great country music from Nashville, Bakersfield and Texas, there’s something of a retro feel to the music – in a manner that pays handsome tribute to old favourites rather than seeking to merely recreate their sound.
Lead singer Lee Briante gives the band a very distinctive sound, his voice being a wry, world-weary drawl, whilst the band behind him plays neat, cheerful country music that is predominantly upbeat in tone. With lyrics that frequently have a beaten up, humorously cynical air about them, it feels like the whole shebang is completely imbued with the spirit of Townes van Zandt – cheerfully bleak throughout. I reckon the marriage of that vibe to some beautifully played, regular guy country music that is rich with melody is The Far West’s masterstroke. The base recordings for this album were made in front of an audience at an American Legion Post (Post 416 in Encinitas, to be exact), and, though they’ve clearly added some polish to those recordings , there remains the feel of a band responding to their surroundings. Mostly it sounds really relaxed, with something of a loose-but-together feel that you rarely hear on studio recordings. This is particularly notable on Gone To Texas which swings along amiably, as if everybody’s got all the time in the world as they jog through the tale of the family who disappear from their cabin overnight, “GTT” scrawled on the door as a final explanation to the curious.
The band are really nicely balanced, everyone playing their part in a satisfying whole; Tony Sanborn on drums, Robert Black on bass, Erik Kristiansen on guitar and pedal steel, and Mike Wells on piano are all wonderfully adaptable as each song develops its own character, whilst the “guest players” also take their chance to add something special; Debra Tala’s accordion playing is really spot on, adding that Mexican border feel to Not Far To Fall, whilst James Mark’s fiddle and producer Amos McWoods’ contributions on organ and banjo all sound great. Time and again these songs produce a wry smile in the way that lyric and arrangement complement each other: anti-love songs such as Nothing Like You (the payoff line is that “the next [lover] will be nothing like you”) have a bitterness in the lyric that is softened, even undermined completely, by the happy-go-lucky sound that the band are making. Any collaborative art form seeks to make something bigger than the sum of its parts and sometimes that can add up to something really special; for me, The Far West have made something at least a little bit special. One to play loud and play often.
Tap Root Radio musically illustrated interview with The Far West. http://flyinshoes.ning.com/profiles/blogs/tpr-72-lee-briante-from-t...
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