Will West & The Friendly Strangers
location: Oregon & North Carolina
style: a fusion of folk, bluegrass, pop, jazz and other wonderful weirdness....
Some of the Story:
Whether they're performing for 1000's at a summer music festival or a handful of listeners at an intimate house concert, Will West and company create a comfortable vibe and energy with their friendly fusion sounds. It's hard to describe this band's style with just a few words. Their shows continue to evolve and change from night to night depending on the band configuration. Will West has just started to get into the NW Festival Circuit with recent performances at Wildwood Musicfest, Juniper Jam, Pinefest, Brewcamp & Manzanita Music Festival. They've shared the stage with Ryan Montbleau, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside, Vintage Trouble, The Lumineers, Fruition, Dirty Revival, Scott Pemberton, Cascade Crescendo, Poor Man's Whiskey, The Druthers, Lewi Longmire and many more over the past 10 yrs.
The son of a fiddle player, Will West grew up in rural eastern North Carolina. Inspired by his parent's vast record collection, he began playing guitar when he was 11 years old. First finding a love for Old-Time Blues and Heavy Metal music.
After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, West loaded up his guitar, his dog and a handful of original tunes and moved to Portland, Oregon in 2002. From his humble beginnings busking on downtown sidewalks and exploring open-mics, Will West has been on a steady rise in this rich Northwest music scene.
He is joined by a collection of stellar musicians called The Friendly Strangers. Together they create a signature blend of Modern Folk, Bluegrass, Pop and Groove elements. Will West & The Friendly Strangers live shows can be wildly different from night to night. They perform in a variety of Trios, Quartets and Big Band line-ups for special events.
They released their latest album "Transitions" (side a) in July 2019.
A collection of songs touching on Rock, Pop, Groove and Big Horn sounds. Featuring a collection of incredible Portland musicians.
"All I Have" was featured as PDX Song of the Week by Vortex Magazine & KINK fm101.9
"Transitions" & "All I Have" are currently playing on PRP 99.1 fm in Portland.
Will West is currently based in his home state of North Carolina. He's writing and working on a new album while building an east coast band. He'll still make periodic trips to the Pacific Northwest for shows and events. Stay posted on to the music calendar for both east coast and west coast shows.
Transitions (side a) by Will West (2019)
Live Vol. 1 by Will West & The Friendly Strangers (2017)
Sunshine by Will West & The Friendly Strangers (2012)
Take this Moment by Will West & The Friendly Strangers (2011)
To Inspire by Will West (2009) *limited press of 400
Shine by Will West (2007)
Nominated for Best Male Artist by the 2010 & 2012 Portland Music Awards.
"Take this Moment" was nominated for Album of the Year by the 2012 Portland Music Awards.
Tanner Cundy (guitar)
Skip vonKuske (cello & mandolin)
Don Henson (percussion, xylophone, typewriter and synths)
Jeff Simpson (trumpet & keys)
Julio Appling (upright bass)
Chad Kimbler (mandolin)
Recent guests & alumni include:
Drew Norman (banjo & lap slide)
Bob Soper (fiddle)
Benjamin Kohen (bass)
Sam Howard (upright bass)
Christian Lucas (drums)
Sean Hudson (upright bass)
Chris Johnedis (drums)
Noah Peterson (sax)
Ji Tanzer (drums)
Anna Tivel (fiddle)
Drew Shoals (drums)
"The Friendly Strangers are a formidable ensemble, boasting fiddles, banjos and mandolins, all guided by West's casual ringleading."
- Up & Coming! Portland Mercury