Saturday, March 7, 2009

Music review: The Westerners "Beautiful Departed"

The Westerners are the latest L.A. band to join the Alt-Country movement. They formed in 2007, and have just released their debut, “Beautiful Departed” Their sound is incredibly rich, considering they are but a two piece combo: Joe West, and LaDon Drummond. Drummond’s vocals are quite extraordinary, especially considering she was eight months pregnant while recording “Beautiful Departed”. Of course they have ample studio support from friends, including the stellar pianist Luca Varesano.

The subject matter is pretty powerful as well, as it concerns the memory of West’s daughter, Laura. Very touching, but done in such a respectful manner it is hard not to be moved by these 11 tracks.

From the first cut “Faith” this is arresting music, with an almost gospel call and response arrangement. West’s guitar intro to “Opening Red Eyes” is gorgeous, leading into “Red Eyes” whose subject matter is pretty self explanatory. The understated guitar figures beneath the spoken word piece “Samara” is riveting. It is plainly obvious that this couple worked through their grief in recording this, it is as personal as music can get.
The final track “Wayfaring Stranger” is written from the point of view of Laura, and ends “Beautiful Departed” on a note of acceptance. Varesano’s piano coda is simply magnificent, and ends the disc with an appropriate air of reflection.

The Westerners can be contacted at

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your kind words. They really touched us. You fully understood our work, as if you were present at the recording sessions. We are currently in Italy shooting a movie. We will be back in L.A. this summer to prepare our first tour on the West Coast. I hope to meet you in Seattle this fall. Joe & LaDon