Kevin West is an LA-based songwriter with the better part of 15 years in the music industry under his belt. Back in 2006, West won the American Songwriter Magazine’s lyric contest. His topic of choice? Raw, honest life experiences:
“My songs are about my real-life experiences, and I think that gives it an honest quality people can relate to” — Kevin West
His latest release, from June of this year, is a six-track EP — Story of my Life. A record thematically encapsulating his seasoned experience of the world. It’s steeped in Americana, with a hint of blues, and so names like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty, and even Neil Young, come to mind.
‘Best of Mine’ sounds like a celebration of West’s musical journey and his purpose in life. It’s a jumpy, rhythmic Americana tune with gorgeous melodies, particularly the harmonies with his female accompaniment.
‘One Too Many’ lyrically acts more like a cautionary tale about the perils of the music industry. His regaling is romantic on other tracks, but this one bares a reality that many of his contemporaries can relate to. The imaginative key work is of particular note here.
Moving into a more country-esque sphere, ‘My Only Sunshine’ is a mellow, tempered affair with sweet, touching lyrics. ‘Sweet Innocence’, on the other hand, is pensive in nature but veers too much into a wistful act, eating away at its credibility.
Closing the EP are the tracks ‘Story of my Life’ and ‘Not for Nothin’. Both incorporate jazzier elements but their perspectives come from elsewhere. The former features a slow-ebbing rhythm that progressively builds. While the pace of the latter charges forward, with greater musical complexity to boot. ‘Not for Nothin’ is something of a showcase for the musicians on board. West allows space for an extended jam, after signing out where the conventional songwriting ends — surely a fitting way to close the EP.
This is a solid effort by West. He blends well-trodden ground with new territory without alienating his fan-base. The storytelling is present, but so are trumpets and wacky instrumental sections. It sounds like West is in a state of transition here and it’ll certainly be interesting to see where he takes his craft next.