(& The Friendly Strangers)
Location: Portland, Oregon
Genre: Modern Folk and Groove Fusion
Hailing from rural eastern North Carolina, Will West moved to Portland, Oregon in the Summer of 2002. The son of a fiddle player, Will was surrounded by music at a young age. Inspired by old-time bluegrass and blues (and a touch of heavy metal) he started playing guitar when he was 11 yrs old.
In 2010 he began to form a band of stellar musicians called The Friendly Strangers. Together they create a signature blend of Americana, Roots, Jazz, Pop and Bluegrass with a Psychedelic edge. Live shows are engaging and fun for all ages. They often perform live in various Trios and Quartet line-ups, but they'll bring out the 6-piece party band for special events and festivals.
The band is currently wrapping up their latest studio album called "Transitions" due for release in Spring/Summer 2019. They released the first Single called "All I Have" in November 2018.
Tanner Cundy (guitar)
Don Henson (drums, percussion, synths & more)
Skip vonKuske (cello & mandolin)
Julio Appling (upright bass)
Jeff Simpson (trumpet & keys)
Chad Kimbler on mandolin)
Benjamin Kohen on bass
with special guests....
RECENT FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Alberta St Fair (mainstage) 2018
Manzanita Musicfest 2017
The Bite of Salem 2017
Brew Lights at Oregon Zoo 2017
Portland Apple Festival 2016-17
Wildwood Musicfest 2016
Juniper Jam 2015-2016
Oregon Garden Brewfest 2015-16
Mississippi Street Fair - Mainstage 2016
Choochokam Music Fest 2013-2015
1st City Celebration of Oregon City 2012-2016
"The Friendly Strangers are a formidable ensemble, boasting fiddles, banjos and mandolins, all guided by West's casual ringleading."
- Up & Coming! - Portland Mercury
"Singer-Songwriter Will West is Oregon-based, but Carolina born, and you can hear it in the warm, charming lilt of his easy going acoustic songs. West's tunes are probably best described as Folk, but can definitely hear some Southern Blues & Bluegrass influence in there, too."
- Ben Salmon - Bend Bulletin
"West's music is an eclectic mix of folk, Americana, country, and the occasional pop number. The title track of his album, "Take this Moment," is an upbeat, country style song that virtually begs the listener to get up and dance."
- Suzanne Krause - Astoria Live Music Examiner
"Portland might be known for being rainy, but the sunny folk sound coming from Will West and the Friendly Strangers belies the City of Roses' famous precipitation. West's honey-smooth vocals overlay a crunchy, rollicking set up of mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass and harmonica."
-Zack Hagadone - Boise Weekly
"He incorporates rootsy, acoustic folk with a bluesy, almost hip-hop-like sense of rhythm. West is a funky, acoustic pop songsmith with a flare for lyricism and rich melodies."
- Matthew Godbey - Post & Courier (Charleston, SC)
"West's clean guitar and polished voice feel like warm sunshine through a car window."
- Andrew Richkey - Independent Weekly (Raleigh, NC)
"He brings smoothness to the singer/songwriter genre that creates something a bit more transitory than simple emotive storytelling. West uses a blend of acoustic folk, alternative country, bluegrass, and even a bit of blues to create a very original sound I can honestly say I've never encountered before. From start to finish, the way West brings these sounds together with his comforting vocals is nothing short of magic."
- Thomas Szewc - Indie-Music.com
"Comfort & Soul. The versatility is only part of what makes his music intriguing. West makes his music accessible to the listener on multiple levels. His voice is familiar, like he is singing only to the ears who hear him. Yet his music, the folk and bluegrass roots, have listeners tapping their feet and nodding their heads."
- Angela Cruz - Encore Magazine (Wilmington, NC)
"A Rhythmic adventure... a light rail through beat town... you just may get distracted and miss your stop."
- Henry Hallet - host of Simple Folk KXCI fm91.3
“Uplifting. A warm, comfortable sound. ”
- Beth Clyman - KINK fm101.9 Local Spotlight (Portland, OR)