The four artists making Gone West have come across each other at various times in heir own solo careers and 2018 was the year that the four decided it was about time they made music together. Colbie Caillat, Jason Reeves, Justin Kawika Young and Nelly Joy created the Gone West album Canyons fusing their styles, melodies and harmonies to come up with this breakthrough contemporary country album with a distinctive style.
The rotation of lead vocals across the album and the layered harmonies of the four allow for a selection of developing sounds and styles across the album ranging from acoustic folk to reggae-country.
With such talent and experience in the band you would not be surprised that most of the 13 tracks were produced or co-produced by Gone West. But the credits also include additional producers and songwriters such as Liz Rose, Jamie Kenney, Jimmy Robbins, Eric Arjes, Tom Douglas and Nathan Chapman.
The tracks take you through the band’s upbeat storytelling vibe of the peaks and troughs hat you experience going through life. Hence the album title. The band say the album maps the ups and downs we go through, drawing from nature and seeing the wisdom, accepting change as a part of life. “You can’t appreciate the highs of the cliffs it you haven’t experienced the canyon floor.”
The album begins with the bands favourite track Gone West- a soft rock-country semi–autobiographical piece of the band coming from places east of Nashville. The band wrote each verse separately and about their other half and bringing them back to Nashville
“took a left from the hills of Tennessee
(I’ve gone west) to bring the best back with me”
Highlights from the album are Confetti – the light hearted look at how you might react to a partner leaving and R&R – upbeat and not what you might be expecting this road trip anthem gets you hitting repeat; Knew You with its harmonies and reggae country beat and Tides with its Hawaiian bridge gives some unique spice to the rest of the album which sticks to its soft rock country vibe with the unmistakable vocals and harmonies of the team of four.
Released in June and containing previously released EP and single tracks the album Canyons is a great collaboration of the four polished songwriters and performers of Gone West and it was clearly a great decision to get together to produce this body of work.
A live performance and discussion of the album can be found on their Youtube page and is definitely worth the watch.
Gamblin’ Town from the album refers to the chances the band took getting together and heading for Nashville to create the album again discussing the potential ups and downs of life and the risks you take whenever you take a leap of faith on the next step of the journey, take a gamble to see what might result. It seems like the four working together as a band might be put on hold for a while as they go their separate ways in their personal lives but I for one am glad they found the time to put this album together. It’s a great addition to the 2020 country music library and we wish them all well for the future.
What Could Have Been
When To Say Goodbye
I’m Never Getting Over You
Talking About You
Home Is Where The Heartbreak Is
Review by Ann Kenney (twitter.com/annkenneysongs)