When we had a recent cancellation of the act we had booked for our April 20 Coffee House, we were scrambling to get an alternative act to perform. It was then we received an email from Jeff Poynter who was looking to bring his band, West My Friend to our Coffee House. We quickly did our research and found out that this group of young Blue Grass musicians were incredible and wasted no time in securing them for this month’s event. West My Friend are Eden Oliver, Adam Bailey, Alex Rempel and Jeff Poynter.
Since West My Friend was conceived in a Victoria café in 2009, they’ve emerged as a unique voice in the city’s music scene. Described as everything from indie-roots to chamber-folk, their acoustic blend of instruments and four-part harmonies challenges the conventions of popular music to create a performance that is both engaging and innovative.
Songs are created through a collaborative process: well-crafted and clever lyrics, acrobatic mandolin riffs, flawless bass lines, and richly textured accordion combine as every member brings forward their own ideas and experiences.
The wealth of musical experience and classical training in the group creates an interesting backdrop for their songwriting, allowing for levels of detail, intricacy, and counterpoint balanced with moments of simplicity. This sonically adventurous approach to music defines West My Friend as a key part of a growing movement of the new generation of grass-roots folk music taking place across British Columbia.
A love for the songs of The Decemberists, The Black Keys, Mother Mother, Beirut, Bob Dylan, Owen Pallet, Joanna Newsom, Mumford & Sons, The Punch Brothers, and Iron & Wine adds to this diverse musical palette.
In 2011, the director and producers of the Victoria International Fringe Festival show BFA: The Musical asked the band to provide recorded backing tracks for their production.
Having created a four-song hand-made EP in 2011, West My Friend recently released their first full-length album “Place.” Having garnered multiple award nominations (including Roots Album of the Year and Song of the Year at the Vancouver Island Music Awards), this record is a significant step forward for West My Friend; the group’s collaboration with producer Adrian Dolan (The Bills, Mark Atkinson) and Juno-Award winner David Travers-Smith (The Wailin’ Jennys, Oh Susannah) provides a strong underpinning of experience in folk-roots music for this promising young band.
You are not going to want to miss this lively night of toe-tapping music. It all happens this Saturday evening, April 20 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Murray Road. Doors open at 7 p.m. with open stage at 7:30 and our feature at 9.
Submitted by Dave Gallant