Grifters & Shills
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Grifters & Shills

Houston, Texas, United States | INDIE

Houston, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Album of the Week: Now & Then by Westbound"

"While Nashville and Austin fight over the face of Country music, Westbound beautifully represents the heart of Country. Without overdoing production or attitude, Westbound gets right to the essence of the music. " - Cousin JD - Family Reunion Country

"Maybe the next Janis Joplin...?"

“This is an absolutely great CD, and an amazing debut for these two young musicians. It’s a mix of fast, hard-driving songs, many with some wickedly witty lyrics, and soft romantic ballads. Their sound is fantastic–it’s hard to believe, on some of these songs, that it comes from just two: Rebecca Ferguson on lead vocals, and John Stoll doing the entire instrumental support, plus back-up vocals. Some of the fast songs, like track 3, “Makin’ Time,” have an incredible, complex driving rhythm that reminds me somewhat of the early Allman Brothers Band, although that band used two lead guitars and a bass to create its sound, and Stoll does it all by himself. And with her husky voice, and the way she sings with all-out intensity, Ms. Ferguson reminds me quite a lot of Janis Joplin.” – - Amazon

"The Fury of this Roots Duo"

It would be easy to overlook Rebecca Ferguson and John Stoll’s solid songwriting (performing as Westbound) in the wake of Stoll’s frenetic guitar playing and stomp-box fervor and Ferguson’s electric vocals. Behind the fury of this roots Americana inspired duo are two people winding their way down life’s whiskey roads and heartbreak hills, churning out great songs along the way. As they write in the liner notes of their latest CD Blackjack Road: “We hope that you enjoy this journey with us, with the windows down and the music loud, and the road wide open ahead.”

With vivid lyrics of rusted road signs, muddy waters, romance and deceit, it’s not difficult to relate to the themes this ‘real-life couple’ write about. But, as they admit, they’ve only been living and writing together for a few years and look forward to digging deeper into the corners of their hearts. Not that any fan of Westbound should hope for anything less than domestic bliss for the two troubadours from Houston, but as Ferguson reveals in Blackjack’s title track, “the blues I got ain’t bad”. Perhaps a line that best sums up Westbound’s love for the blues, and all it’s lyrical discontent, while maintaining an optimistic outlook on the future.

On working together creatively in Westbound and being a couple John and Rebecca both allude to the benefits of trust that come from their romantic involvement. “It’s very much a ‘one plus one equals more than two’ approach,” says Stoll.

Live, Westbound embodies the spirit of a front porch revival from somewhere in West Virginia, delivering salvation to anyone in earshot. Stoll’s use of either acoustic guitar, banjo or resonator guitar, along with a mic’d stomp-box and shoe tambourine give the “band” a full, driving sound. While all of the material on Blackjack Road is original, Westbound includes songs from a diverse catalog in the folk/roots/blues genre when performing live. “We look for anything we can find an emotional connection to. Right now, we’re looking at a lot of older Appalachian folk style that we can put an edge on,” says Ferguson.

Blackjack Road was released in 2010 and contains 13 songs that encapsulate Stoll’s multi-instrument abilities more delicately than his live performances. Working in the controlled environment of a studio often challenges musicians to find a balance between capturing the energy of a live performance and accepting the sometimes-limiting parameters of recording.

For Westbound, the labor of recording (all done by Stoll and Ferguson) produced a remarkably energetic sound without the incorporation of a traditional rhythm section (bass and drums). “Translating that (stage energy) to album is difficult. I feel like the album has got great punch to it,” said Stoll. Adds Ferguson, “We just had to take a different approach to find it. It manifests in different ways live versus in the recording booth.”

Despite all the foot-stomping, folk-fever, some of Westbound’s strongest material can be heard in their country music-flavored ballads like The Closest Friends of Mine and Let Me Drown Or Set Me Free. While Ferguson’s voice has a timeless quality, reminiscent of Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline, Westbound delivers their songs resisting all-too-often heard lap-steel and tear-in-my-beer melodies to create a fresh take on a traditional sound.

Westbound is traveling the roads they write about (and not just West), at times, up to 700 miles to play a gig in a small town. Like so many musicians today they are totally independent: writing, performing, recording and producing their own material. Unlike many acts, though, their live shows and their recoded efforts are both outstanding, yet different from each other. See a show, buy a CD, go along for the ride – you won’t be disappointed!

Visit for concert dates, CDs and more. Visit to see the video interview with John and Rebecca as well as a live performance by Westbound. - Bay Group Magazines

"Things overheard at Westbound shows..."

"Y'all sound like five people up there!"
"You guys sound like Scott H. Biram meets Allison Krauss..."
"Y'all are bluegrass on RED BULL!"
"You RULE. You RULE!"
- People everywhere are saying...


'Now & Then', full-length album released May 19, 2012
'Blackjack Road', full-length album released Nov. 13, 2010.

Both albums receiving national airplay on left-end-of-the-dial radio stations. Both albums streaming on Pandora, and all the usual internet outlets.



Grifters & Shills writes and performs timeless music with deep ties to the past and a very assertive outlook on the present. They pay homage to the paths long taken, but continue forging the trail using their own voice and style.

A number of hybrid genres have emerged as enchanted listeners try to find a name for what they have seen and heard at a Grifters & Shills performance. Featuring tight vocal harmonies, guitar, banjo, percussion, harmonica, mandolin, and bass, they've been called everything from bluegrass to blues, from Americana to outlaw.

But the best one by far, is roots music. Because at the heart of it all is a deep appreciation for where all of this music comes from. And, by extension, where all of us have come from.

They have released two albums under the name Westbound—Now & Then (2012) and Blackjack Road (2010). They are currently touring throughout the U.S. and writing for their third album, anticipated in 2013. Music from these albums is playing on left-end-of-the-dial radio stations all across the country.

Their instrumentation and vocals have also been featured on albums from other artists, including Texas favorites Myrna Sanders (Big Head Diva; 2012) and Zach Tate (End of Time; 2012). The band has also appeared in Musician’s Friend advertisements in Guitar World, Mix, Electronic Musician and Modern Drummer magazines.


Grifter [grif - ter]: A practitioner of confidence tricks; a person who operates a side show at a circus, fair, especially pertaining to slight of hand tricks

Shill [shil]: one who acts as a decoy (as for a pitchman or gambler); one who poses as a customer in order to entice others to participate, as at a gambling house, auction, or confidence game