By Aaron Wagner
As one of the newest groups in country music, Gone West made their entrance last year with their EP Tides. Fast forward a year later and their debut full-length country project as arrived.
The group’s full length album Canyons builds on the success of their debut EP. The harmonies and to be quite blunt – the group’s sound – is the best thing the group has going for them. Calling it easy listening would be an understatement.
I also think there’s a new division of country music that is being birthed with this album . If Kenny Chesney is king of “Coastal Country” then Gone West and this album next one through the door. There are some more country sounding songs on here with “Gone West”, “Home Is Where the Heartbreak Is”, and “This Time” but these are three of the songs we heard on their EP.
The majority of this album seems like the soundtrack to a small coastal town lifestyle. That’s most certainly not a knock at all. It’s a very cool and new vibe that we just haven’t heard a lot of in country music before. There’s definitely room for it and I think the group’s LA and California influences helped shape the sound.
Heck, look at their album cover and that’s exactly what this album is.
“Knew You” is one of the strongest songs with that coastal vibe as they sing about the rough end of a relationship. The storyline is a bummer but the production makes it seem like they’re sipping on a margarita while venting.
“R&R” and “Tides” are two other songs that are strong with the coastal country vibes as they sing about going along with the flow, enjoy life because life can change and it’s the one constant thing.
Gone West can sure sing the heck out of a sad song in a way that makes it equally as beautiful. There’s a quartet of songs in which they do that. “What Could’ve Been” is the song about two former flames wondering what life would’ve been like if they had stuck it out. The harmonies on this one are particularly strong. “When To Say Goodbye” has them realizing that a relationship needs to end to make them happy, no matter how backwards that seems. They find themselves unable to get over someone in “I’m Never Getting Over You” and “Talkin’ About You.”
The group sings about happiness and has a bit of spunk in their music too.
“Confetti” is a groovy number about not crying over the end of a relationship, rather celebrating with confetti and a party. “Slow Down” is the song all about contentment one feels with another and how they block everything else out.
One of the more interesting songs on the album is “Gamblin’ Town.” It’s such a real song as they sing about all of those who chase their dreams and while some make it, many more don’t. It’s truly a gamble.
While I love the “coastal country” vibe from the majority of the songs, I really hope that going forward the group can make more music like “Gamblin’ Town.” They have a special sound that makes them easy to listen to, it’s just going to come down to making the right songs that will impact radio.