In the vast and ever-changing landscape of music, there are artists whose journeys, both personal and musical, resonate deeply with their listeners. Eddie West, a talented singer-songwriter and musician, has carved a niche for himself in Americana by narrating his life’s travels and experiences through his songs. From the mesmeric terrains of the Southwestern United States to the magnetic pull of Los Angeles, Eddie’s music has been a reflection of his nomadic journey. Today, we have the pleasure of chatting with him, diving deep into his inspirations, challenges, and the stories that fuel his songwriting.
Hey, thanks for chatting with us. Tell us a little about yourself.
Since becoming an adult I have been quite the nomad, living all over the Southwestern United States. This started with a move to Colorado for college, and then Arizona for work in my twenties. After a brief stint back home to New Jersey I struck out for California, back to Arizona, to Wyoming for a year and then once again to California. This time I hope to put down roots, as Los Angeles is my most visited city. I always miss this place when I’m not here.
My songs tell the story of my travels, with an EP titled “Leaving Colorado” and album called “Davis Years,” and an upcoming release, “Live from Jackson Hole,” that will be coming out this fall in two parts. More than just traveling, my songs tell the story of friendships and relationships I’ve had along the way, as well as the joy I experience playing guitar and performing live on stage.
Who or what inspired you to start making music? And, when did you start?
As a kid I took piano lessons and always remember fooling around with chord progressions on the piano. At age 11 I started on guitar (30 years ago now!) and immediately also started playing harmonica to accompany my acoustic. I was heavily influenced by Neil Young as this was around 1993 when he released Harvest Moon and MTV Unplugged. His influence on grunge was immediately evident to me, but I gravitated toward the folk sound he’s always had as well.
Again on guitar as soon as I was proficient I was writing songs and released my first record with 12 originals at age 18. Since then I’ve written, performed and released a lot of material. When I’m able to (when not glued to my day job) I am always working on music projects.
What is your biggest challenge as an artist?
My biggest challenge as an artist is writing catchy material. To be honest, the first few songs on my studio albums are not the fan favorites. It’s the back half – the B sides – those are the songs that get attention. They show my depth as a songwriter and are usually longer songs with instrumental jams. At some point I need to write a damn hit!
What is your favorite project or single you have released?
My latest release will be me performing on acoustic guitar, harmonica, and vocals with two microphones in front of a live audience. There are no edits. I am extrememly proud not just of the performances, but the fact that 12 of the 16 songs are brand new, first performances of the songs. I performed them at the Jackson Hole Hootenanny during the 2022-2023 winter season that took place at the Silver Dollar Bar. “The Hoot,” as it’s known, is an incredible, 30 years running live event in Jackson, WY. I was really humbled and honored by the experience of performing there.
Who are your inspirations? What artists or bands are you listening to?
I listen to all the great classic rock songwriters, especially Neil Young, Paul Simon, Tom Petty and Jackson Browne. I like a lot of jazz guitar players like Pat Metheny and Bill Frissell. I also need to include the 90’s jam band scene as a big influence as that was a big part of my teenage concert going experience – Phish, Blues Traveler, Ben Harper and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
What’s the process behind working on a song like?
I compose by improvising on the guitar or with a lyric line, and it becomes what I call a spontaneous composition. Then I just work on finishing it using the tools I have as a songwriter.
Tell me about your upcoming music and what inspired you to create it!
I was heavily inspired by the scenery of Wyoming and the serenity of the Grand Tetons. Although the songs are not always about my time there, I found it to be the ideal environment to sit down and get the writing done.
What are your plans for 2023?
If I get a double live album released I will be very happy.
Have any shoutouts?
Oh man – the Jackson Hole Hootenanny – what a great audience and welcoming community.
It’s evident that Eddie West’s music is as much a celebration of his journey as it is a testament to his dedication and passion for his craft. With a deep-seated love for classic rock, the serenity of nature, and the authentic feel of live performances, Eddie has managed to craft a distinct sound and narrative that resonates with many. As he looks forward to releasing his double live album in 2023, one thing is clear: Eddie’s journey, both as a musician and a wanderer, is far from over. And for us, the listeners, it’s a journey we’re thrilled to be a part of. Tune in to Eddie’s music on Spotify or the streaming platform you use.