The Far West
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The Far West

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Los Angeles, California, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Americana Country

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"Review"

"Can you imagine John Prine fronting a country band that has 2 really good Americana songwriters? Actually, you don't have to, because thats a pretty succinct description of LA's The Far West. Lee Briante's voice, a kind of fine grit sandpaper, provides the Prine reference. Robert Black, Aaron Bakker, Travis Popichak and James Williams fulfill Briante's Craigslist ad that consisted of a sweaty Waylon Jennings video and the message 'looking to do something like this'. While Briante and Black write songs that are rather more complex than country tends to be, this time round contributing 6 each with 1 co-write. The result is a band that descends directly from Gram Parsons and The Band. Their debut was recorded at an American Legion Post, this time they set up in a vintage hot rod shop with producer Colin Mclean. The totally endearing thing about The Far West is that they don't sound like anyone else, which may explain why their reviews tend to have lines like 'I can't stop listening to this'.
JC
4 stars! - 3rd Coast Music


"Album Review"

“This town has made me, bitter, drunk, and cold,” is the opening track and line of The Far West’s debut CD. It’s a great start to an album that is solid from start to finish. It defines what LA country music is about. It starts by referencing the city in itself, and the always-popular topic of drinking. It’s a witty track to start out on a good note.

The next song, “Nothing Like You,” is a danceable song remembering an ex-lover. A violin solo hits during the middle of the song and soars. As I write about the song, I look to my feet, and I can see my right bobbing left to right. “If I ever love again, it will be with someone true, cause the next one, will be nothing like you.” This ends the song on a high note and transitions smoothly into the steel guitar heavy “Best Company Misery Ever Had.” A slower, classic county influenced tune, referring back to that ex-lover.

The album continues with steel guitar powered songs and Lee’s voice and songwriting carrying the load. His voice resonates like Dylan’s, and his song writing is simple and heartfelt like many great county songs. The songs are written and performed in the simple way that makes country music as great as it is. I hear many Johnny Cash-like drums throughout the album. “Bound To Lose” is a great example of this. The seventh track on the album is a good little tune I could see being put on repeat during a spur-of-the-moment road trip. Even though the title clearly references failure, there is something about it, something that makes you want to fight through it. “I left New York, crossed that LA county line,” like the many artists in the scene here, they come from elsewhere. They came here to say the things they want to say, only with that country twang.

The album ends with “Good Lord Willing,” and “What’s Done is Done.” “Good Lord Willing” is a Johnny Cash song, with that train-sounding steel guitar creeping up off in the distance. “What’s Done is Done,” ends the album on a great note. The slower, rim-tapping song with the steel, yet again, shining through. “Because what’s done, is done,” is the last line on the album, and how fitting it is. It leaves you with no question.

The Far West put together a solid album that I recommend to classic country lovers. - LA Country Music


"The Far West"

I'm probably the least-qualified person to review country music. I grew up in the Northeast and the majority of my exposure to country has been to 1990s/2000s/2010s mainstream artists, most of whom I consider to be nauseatingly awful.

However, as with most genres with a mainstream scene, there is an equally vibrant counter-scene. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was called "outlaw country," comprised of artists like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Townes Van Zandt. It grew out of the revolutionary spirit of that time, pursued by artists who wanted to write their own music, in their own way, and without influence of a recording label. By the 1990s, it went by the name alternative country, insurgent country, or just Americana. Uncle Tupelo's No Depression [1990] was a seminal LP at this time, giving rise to the magazine of the same name. Whatever you call it, this counter-country is often characterized by a lo-fi rock & roll aesthetic, a strong punk influence, and a level of authenticity not found in the Nashville scene. It's a side of country (hell, music in general) that actually feels genuine.

Do I still have your attention? If so, then the Far West may be just what you're looking for. As I said, aside from a superficial knowledge of the history above, I'm probably the worst person to be talking about country music. But I can at least say this: The Far West sent me their album weeks ago, and I've been enjoying it so much I almost completely forgot to review it.

If you like any of the artists listed above, you'll find something to love in the Far West. Together, Lee Briante, Robert Black, Erik Kristiansen, and Tony Sanborn channel the spirit of that traditional country sound. Their debut album was recorded live-to-tape in a local California-area American Legion post, and is being released independently. While the Far West formed in 2010, the band sounds like it's been playing together for years. The individual members are all veteran musicians, with considerable experience in several previous bands. And with the combination of their tight sound and great storytelling, it's really no surprise.

And oh, what great storytelling it is. Songwriters Briante and Black are masters of weaving genuinely gut-wrenching tales of broken hearts and shattered love, as in "I'll Keep the Bed Warm" (I'll keep the bed warm, baby / Whether or not you're coming home / I'd rather lie here thinking "maybe" / Than lie here thinking I'll be all alone); or "Maricopa City Lights" (She's the kind of girl you dream of / In the spaces in between love / When you let yourself think, there's still something good).

There are almost too many good songs to list here, but other standouts include the dark, self-deprecating humor of "Bitter, Drunk & Cold," the weary "Tears on the Pillowcase Again," or the more upbeat "Nothing Like You" and "Bound to Lose." - Given & Taken In Ink


"Trio of fine Americana Albums"

THE five members of the Los Angeles band The Far West came together in 2010 and Any Day Now, their second album, shows what a talented group they are. The melodic and sardonic On the Road (written by New York singer and guitarist Lee Briante about Hollywood) kicks off an album which has a pleasing flow to it.

Walk Light on this Poor Heart of Mine is a catchy sad song and the band get rocky on Witchita. They also do heartbreak well on Across the Bed.

The band share songwriting duties (Texas mandolin player Robert Black's upbeat song The Bright Side features nifty guitar picking from producer Colin McLean) and gel well throughout. James Williams is on keyboard, Aaron Bakker on guitars and Travis Popichak on drums. The 13-song album is diverse (there is a country-swing feel to Leonard, which features guest Nic Chafee on horns) and These Arms Will Be Empty has a languid charm that typifies a very strong album. - The Telegraph UK


"Buzzbands LA"

We have no idea what to make of all the debate about “authenticity” in roots music these days, but it isn’t going out on a limb to venture that L.A. quintet the Far West is doing right. They are five guys who paid their dues in myriad other bands and who joke that their music is inspired by a lot of W’s — you know, Waylon, Willie, Woody and Wilco. The Far West’s sophomore album “Any Day Now” came out this week via Medina River Records, the San Antonio-born label that is being resuscitated in L.A. after a seven-year hiatus. The band — singer-guitarist Lee Briante, guitarist Aaron Baker, bassist Robert Black, keyboardist James Williams and drummer Travis Popichak — coaxes a wary optimism out of its tightly drawn Americana, with Briante’s vocals earning comparisons to the likes of Townes Van Zandt and John Prine. It’s music you can bawl to or brawl to (in the friendliest possible way, naturally), and it’s no wonder the Far West has become a favorite at the Grand Ole Echo (where the video for “The Bright Side,” above, was filmed). It’s nice to have find the Heartland in La-La Land. - See more at: http://www.buzzbands.la/2014/02/27/ears-wide-open-far-west/#more-71980 - Buzzbands LA


Discography

The Far West - Self Titled

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Bio

"Technically pure, slightly jaded, no-nonsense and honest with stellar storytelling for the every-man." The Far West came together in early 2010, each member having left other bands to pursue a unique sound they weren't getting elsewhere. Singer Lee Briante posted a late night craigslist ad that consisted of nothing more then the text  'looking to do something like this'.  and a Waylon Jennings video.   Texas born Robert Black responded within minutes and The Far West was born. Chicago native Aaron Bakker soon joined the band bringing his exceptional guitar playing to the lineup. With Michael Whiteside on piano & keys and Brian Bachman on drums, the line up was solidified.

Before long the band partnered with respected booking agent Mongrel Music, and have been consistently growing and selling out shows in the West ever since. The Far West have been gigging all across Southern California and the southwest at places like El Rey, The Troubadour The Echo, The Satellite, Pappy & Harriets, Hotel Cafe, Cowboy Palace Saloon, The Great American Music Hall and  across the US.  They've been winning accolades all along the line from bands, critics and DJ's alike.  The Far West has opened sold out shows for JD McPherson, Nick 13, Dave & Phil Alvin, Big Sandy & The Fly-Rite Boys and Eilen Jewell.

In February 2014 the band released their 2nd album Any Day Now on Medina River records.  Their second album with producer Colin McLean. He recorded their first album at an American Legion Post while the bar was open for business – and, in keeping with his interest in using unusual spaces, recorded Any Day Now in a vintage hot rod repair shop. Like their debut effort, this new album has been receiving rave reviews from everyone who hears it, proving that The Far West have something special.

The band is currently working with Little Brother Music Publishing, Two Dog Media, Medina River Records and Mongrel Music Booking.


Band Members