Michael West | A Fond Farewell

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A Fond Farewell

by Michael West

Strong vocal performances, diverse songwriting ability & universal appeal easily identify Michael West as a serious talent. On his second album “A Fond Farewell” he offers up a unique & eclectic mix of songs that constantly blur the lines between genres.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. A Fond Farewell
4:07 $0.99
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2. Shine
4:03 $0.99
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3. Something in the Water
4:06 $0.99
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4. What If (feat. Kendall Kelly)
5:15 $0.99
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5. Since You Been Gone
5:45 $0.99
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6. Until You Do Right By Me
3:43 $0.99
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7. You Rock Me
3:29 $0.99
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8. Nothing Remains (feat. Namoli Brennet)
4:07 $0.99
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9. My Love Will Reach You (2012)
4:58 $0.99
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10. Singing the Sun Up
3:59 $0.99
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11. Today I Started Loving You Again
2:45 $0.99
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12. Who Needs Love
3:28 $0.99
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13. Zephyr's Song / It's Not Easy (feat. DJ Williams & Little Z)
4:27 $0.99
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14. When I Reach the Place I'm Going (feat. Jonell Mosser)
2:40 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Biography
~ father - husband - singer - songwriter - artist ~

Strong vocal performances, diverse songwriting ability & universal appeal easily identify Michael West as a serious talent. On stage his high-octane style uses no formula at all, instead he offers a blend of abilities, styles & enthusiasms uniquely adapted to himself. He is an artist who creates a unique musical blend of melodic pop with a rich mixture of classic blues, rock & roll, & soul

Michael West is a child of the Rocky Mountains, born and raised in a sleepy little country suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah, that according to Michael, “was a great place to grow up. It was a small town and a family town, and it’s part of the reason I developed my love for music at such a young age.” Michael discovered his love and interest in music early on; and much of that love came from time spent with his mother listening to old records. “She loved to sing and she had a very diverse collection of everything from R&B to old classic country albums, she had it all. I fell very deep into that collection; I would totally immerse myself in the music. I would just sit for hours with artist like Pasty Cline, The Judd’s, Dollly Parton, Stevie Wonder and Elton John. I would sing along with them into the speakers while studying every note and every lyric. Every artist I listened to and sang along with became my vocal heroes and all their styles became part of me”

When Michael was 12 he went to a Judd’s concert and from that day on the need to perform on stage began staking its claim deep in his soul. “It was all I thought about, I would sit in class and underneath my homework I'd be lifting up the paper trying to turn my early poetry into a song. I never wanted to be like anybody else.” Later Michael began singing in choirs, school musicals, retirement homes and county fairs. “It was really cool to perform at that age and have folks tell me you’re going to make it someday kid, everyone was always shocked by the maturity of my voice.” Michael wrote his first song at age 15 and always seemed to have a gift for putting the right words together with heart. During his teens and twenties he silently amassed a small song catalog and thought it was about time that he used his talent and record one of them, however he had no place to start.

Then he met, Bryant Keith while living in South Florida. Bryant being a multi-talented musician and writer became the his musical catalyst for the next few years. They began to write feverishly and formed a duo named Keith & West which was backed by a seasoned and very talented seven piece band. They paid their dues in local clubs and also took home several awards from The Florida Country Music Association; such as "Entertainers of the Year" and the “Best Country Duo Award." Then in 2002 Keith & West decided to record a debut album of original material titled
"A Long Stretch of Highway" which was released independently right before Michael decided to make his pilgrimage to Nashville, TN. The release was well received among their peers, but never had any commercial success.

However, his luck turned and during his first two years living as a singer/songwriter in Music City he was commissioned to co-write a song titled "My Love Will Reach You (Ashton's Song)” for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Annual charity event, which was held at RCA Records. He called on his good friends Bryant Keit, the Grammy winning producer Joe Hogue and his partner Sean Peterson to co-write the song, (which was later re-mixed by Freddy Freeman into a dance track). He also obtained three single song contracts, two with VanWatkins Music LLC, and one with The Sundance Channel, which was included in a four-part series called "Keeping Time: New Music From America's Roots."

In 2004 he formed a new band called Ursa Major and joined a touring group of male musicians called Bearapalooza, which led him to play shows all across the United States. While he gigged he worked on the material for his next album. Then in 2008 he co-produced a full east coast tour with Bearpalooza with shows in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, D.C. and Raleigh, NC. He also was invited to play Milwaukee Pride which is one of biggest Pride events in the country. Then in 2009 he took a hiatus from music and performing for birth of his son Zephyr which he is raising with his loving partner (and soon to be legally married in Maryland) of 17 years.

Presently he very is excited to finally release his long awaited second FULL album. A digital preview of the album (produced by Michael West and the talented Freddy Freeman) was released in the Spring of 2012 under the title of "SHINE" and is still available on iTunes, Google Play, CD Baby & Amazon. Check out the INCREDIBLE reviews of the pre-release.

The official full physical 14 track release will be titled "A Fond Farewell" and will be proudly published by BeatleBrook Music LLC. in the winter of 2012. The album will contain additional tracks produced by Scott Blanton, Bryant Keith, Seaney P. and Grammy Winner, Joe Hogue.

This album will authentically represent Michael's entire musical journey by paying tribute to his entire musical family while at the same time ignoring all genre restraints.

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Reviews


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Luke Thomas

A Fond Farewell is a rare CD - all music is great & listen over and over again w
A FOND FAREWELL CD is a work of pure genius - one of those rare pieces that I enjoy listening to many times over and over again. The ENTIRE CD has great songs not like most that only has one or two. So it's ALL 100% enjoyment. Thank you for such high quality!! I enjoy it very much! I listen to it getting up, taking a shower - and doing everything things. Makes the day go easier. I HIGHLY recommend this CD. This really should be on the best seller list. And what a voice! Very beautiful awesome singing. Better than big stars. This is a feast for the ears and it's mighty good!
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Beatlebrook Music LLC.

A Fond Farewell - by Michael West - THE REVIEWS ARE IN!
~ The Reviews ~

A Fond Farewell - by Robert L. Darden - Author / Freelance Writer - Seattle, WA

Michael West is truly a gifted, talented, multi-faceted singer-songwriter; with his second CD release, titled “A Fond Farewell”, he brings to us his standard blend of classic blues, rock & roll, and soul, to which he adds just a touch of country, and makes sure that nothing about this CD is standard at all. Opening with advice given to him years ago by his mother, “A Fond Farewell” is a moving, uplifting tune focused on overcoming obstacles and learning from your mistakes ~ about going for the happiness you know you deserve, even though people around you are driving you to question yourself and your own beliefs; getting away from the past, getting out of your own way, even, and looking forward to the peace you know is out there, no matter what. This velvety-rocking, bluesy poptimism is echoed in track 2, “Shine”, furthering the message with “keep keepin’ on” and letting us know, in a slightly more laid back, but still rocking manner, that we’re all gonna shine someday.

“Something in the Water” brings us the funky, rock & roll edginess that Garth Brooks was looking for when he thought he was Chris Gaines, letting us know just how much we’re spinning out of control and wrecking our planet without really thinking about or caring about the consequences of our actions, ignoring the signs, and leaving all of the madness-manifested mess for our children to deal with later. Even though, as the song informs us: “We are the ones we hurt…”

“What If” (featuring Kendall) offers us a glimpse at the questions that might be asked by Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lennon if they were still with us today and sat down to talk about the state of this world; Kendall’s rap challenges us to open our eyes and minds to work together to right the wrongs we’ve allowed to go on for far too long. From there, we’re taken to church, as an old piano’s ivories are tickled & teased, leading into a bluesy bass line over which a slow funk yearning is charismatically crooned, as cool as can be, to a lover who’s packed up his love and left, leaving his lover in the lurch, not knowing what to do or where to go; the piano’s wistful wantonness beautifully sits on top of the bluesy-jazzy bass, making a nice place for Michael’s misery-steeped mellifluousness to bounce off of and never actually hit the floor, a hint at the hopeful heartache that flows thru “Since You Been Gone”, right up on thru the outro, where the piano once again speaks in its soul-stirring solitude…

“Until You Do Right By Me” is a plate full of rockabilly biscuits with rich country gravy, served up fresh and piping hot, taking two of Miss Celie’s infamous lines from ‘The Color Purple’ and allowing them to serve as warning of the cosmickarmic comeuppance that will surely befall the unfortunate offending fool who thought s/he could get over, while the funkin’ blues-heavy rock of “You Rock Me” speaks and pleads to the demon from Michael’s dark side, who keeps him beggin’ for more. It’s the most fun and most rocking song of the album, and sounds like one that Michael had the most fun recording – you can feel the wicked-good time he’s having all thru this one.

On “Nothing Remains”, featured artist Namoli Brennet helps lay out a gorgeous, soulful base that assists in creating this snapshot of the closing of an unrequited love, where the male could not be all that the female wanted and needed; seemingly, she thinks they may have both known all along that he’d never be able to be who/what she wanted him to be, because she apologizes for having wasted his time, but he lets her know that it wasn’t a waste of time, that there were good times between them, which he’ll remember ~ even though at this moment, there’s nothing between them at all. It’s a rather poignant moment as they stand on the verge of new beginnings for each of them, possibly wondering if they’ll be able to remain friends…

“My Love Will Reach You” is an uplifting, heartfelt message to anyone going through periods of pain and darkness, with Michael letting it be known that “you are not alone” and to not give up, to keep fighting. Originally subtitled “Ashton’s Song”, this song was commissioned by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for their annual charity event in 2003, and co-written with Grammy-winning producer Joe Hogue; ten years and a few dance remixes later, this new production of the is still every bit as strong and as touching as it was then, and will always remain one of Michael’s signature songs.

“Singing the Sun Up” is a little Marc Broussard, a little Harry Connick, Jr., but ALL Michael West; an uplifting, “it’s gonna be a great day” and “I ain’t got nothin’ to prove, but I’m gonna show you what I can do anyway” kind of song with an infectious groove that I dare you to try and not bob your head to as you sit there smiling, feeling like you can hear the smile on Michael’s face as he sings. I dare you!
Written and recorded in 1968 by Merle Haggard, “Today I Started Loving You Again” is a worthy rendition of a country classic on which Michael holds his own against the original. His solo, unharmonized vocals are just a tad more bittersweet and slightly more earnest than Merle’s, without taking anything away from the tune or the story. A lovely lament, indeed…

“Who Needs Love”, featuring the Love Virtual Choir, is a slowed down drive toward church ~ a non-denominational church where everyone is welcome ~ and Michael & Co., tell us a few things about ourselves along the way: no matter what you’ve got going on, and no matter who you are, you need love. Who needs love? I need love. You need love. We all need love. Now, let the church say ‘Amen’.
The penultimate song on “A Fond Farewell” is actually two songs – two covers, to be exact: a beautifully blended rendition of “Zephyr’s Song” and “It’s not Easy”, which features Michael’s loving husband and his son, Zephyr. The opening half is “Zephyr’s Song”, which takes the better parts of “Danny’s Song” [written by Kenny Loggins] and reworks the words to speak to the bond that Michael and DJ have had for almost two decades, and the closing half is “It’s Not Easy” [from the Disney movie “Pete’s Dragon”], which speaks to the family that they’ve created with Zephyr, and features heart melting vocal additions from DJ and Zephyr. These two songs melded together and performed by the entire family is a portrait of a true American Family that the whole damn world needs to hear and bear witness to, and I am so very proud of Michael for creating such an amazing musical moment to share with us.

The glorious lilt created by acoustic guitars is echoed beautifully in the country-soul-gospeldelic harmonies provided by Michael and the Nashville vocal legend Jonell Mosser on “When I Reach the Place I’m Going”, an introspective song of transcendence originally recorded by Wynonna Judd, and later by Patty Loveless. Once the twangtastic tone has been set by those strings, Michael and Jonell lay down soulful solo melodies which lead to a sublimely layered duet between the two.

Produced primarily by Michael West and Freddy Freeman [who delivers wonderful backing vocals throughout], and with top-notch work by other artists, musicians, and guest writers, “A Fond Farewell” delivers a wonderful, beautiful story; I keep using the word ‘beautiful’ because there is no other word that better fits this album – and ‘album’ is the perfect word for this CD: music, moments, and memories all in one. Michael West’s bio lists him as a father, a husband, a singer, a songwriter, and an artist. Allow me to add “genius”.

Robert L. Darden - Author / Freelance Writer - Seattle, WA


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A Fond Farewell - review by Shane Phoenix - Billboard Magazine, EDGE Magazine

So I just completed listening to Michael West's new Album "A Fond Farewell". As you my fans know, I am NOT a easy critic to please. I also know YOU know I am not a huge fan of country style music. Well folks Michael West just changed ALL that."A Fond Farewell" took me on a wonderful voyage of sound. It has been a VERY LONG time since I have heard and enjoyed a great CD. I listen to hundreds of new songs each week and for the most part they all sound the same. "A Fond Farewell" was different. Right from the start the title track "A Fond Farewell" made me realize that this album was NOT going to be the usual. The guitar work is amazing and the intro vocals really set the tone of the song, the message in the lyrics tells you everything you need to know about freedom, not only from ones own thinking, but what one can be when they let go of their fears and past tribulations.

The track "Shine" starts off with a really inviting guitar work that tells you it is ok to sit back, clap your hands and enjoy. If you want a positive message that it will be ok and that you to will "Shine" someday, then you will Shine all day long after you hear this great song. However for me the one STAND OUT song on this album is "What If". You too will find yourself asking "What If", after you hear the drums and guitar blend like milk and Oreo cookies. You will melt into Michael's amazing vocals and lyrics that asks all the questions we do everyday, mixing a very modern rock feel with spoken word from Kendall Kelly and harsh grunge guitar and electro vocal work, this one song takes you from sitting in the chair to standing on your feet in like zero seconds.

The last song in my review is "Who Needs Love". The piano work, like on the entire album is flawless. Michael's vocals really showcase in this song. I know I have only said this on a couple of other Artist, but the blend of chorus, piano, guitar and power vocals are a PERFECT blend. I do not wonder "Who Needs Love" after listening to this song, I know, I LOVE Michael West. You to can fall in love all over again and purchase it here A Fond Farewell"

Shane Phoenix is a celebrity review writer for Billboard Magazine, EDGE Magazine as well as Hot Spots Magazine. You can read and hear and even see more about him at http://www.djshanephoenix.com/

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW HERE: BEARBOUNCE INTERVIEW

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A Fond Farewell
REVIEW by: Adiv Abramson - a fan

Michael West's sophomore effort is an eclectic and intriguing mix of musical styles, timbres, rhythms and soundscapes that represents a marked departure from his initial release, the strongly country and folk influenced "A Long Stretch Of Highway" of over two years ago. The 14 tracks that pack this current CD incorporate such diverse musical genres and influences as rock, country, pop, folk, funk, gospel and even hip hop. It would be impossible to neatly categorize this offering since it delivers a rich sonic smorgasbord that will leave you aesthetically satisfied and yet hungering for more.

The emotive and poignant title track, "A Fond Farewell", which speaks of letting go of the past and finding the fortitude to face an uncertain future, features West's tremulous but often stentorian vocals over crisp guitar riffage, courtesy of guest artist Tommy Johns. West's passionate vocals capture the feelings of vulnerability most everyone experiences on the long, tortuous journey to self.

The track, "Shine" follows with a finger-popping tune punctuated with staccato guitar picking and marvelous harmonizing of West's and producer Freddy Freeman's voices. An upbeat musical pep talk, "Shine" is a light hearted bit of inspiration that serves as the thematic denouement to previous track, promising a bright future for those willing to move forward in their lives.

The third track is the first of several gritty, hard edged rockers that comprise a substantial portion of the CD. The eco-consciousness raising "Something In The Water" is an angry, strident fulmination decrying the excesses and abuses of our post industrial society against the planet we like to call home but apparently don't care all that much about. Johns' overdriven guitars provide a thick, crunchy musical bedrock upon which this hard driving tune rides. The mid song spoken word adds to the sense of indignation and urgency that permeates the track.

Continuing in the power rock genre, "What If" is blunt in its accusations of racism, homophobia, hypocrisy and indifference to the plight of others while holding out a small glimmer of hope that one day these quintessential human failings might be rectified. The opening steely tones of the guitar set the mood for this dark and brooding number that compels the listener to pause to consider the sad state of affairs we find ourselves in as a result of age old prejudices and persistent ignorance. Kendall Kelly's rap is the first of two back to back spoken word sections accompanied by some tantalizing acid guitar licks from Johns and Flodin, bridging the song's beginning and end.

"Since You Been Gone," the disc's fifth track, is an earthy, blues influenced torch song that West delivers with aplomb, passion and authentic soul. Expert keyboard work by Jon Gilbert Leavitt, Freddy Freeman and Yuri Villanueva make this track especially gratifying to listen to again and again.

The fast paced rocker, "Until You Do Right By Me" is a fine blend of rock and country that's guaranteed to get you off your feet and on the floor, even if you're the only dancing. Lusty guitar chops by Jeff Rockcub, backing a fast and furious fiddle, oh my!

Now we come to the most sensuous of all the tracks on this disc, hands down. "You Rock Me" will rock your world with its repeated appeals to that dark and distant lover that common sense tells us to avoid at all cost, but whose amorous abilities compel us to beg him to "crash into me like you mean it" and all that that implies.

And for something completely different, "Nothing Remains" is a lushly arranged number complete with Namoli Brennet on the mandolin and pizzicato guitar picking that begins the CD's mellower section. Poignant, pining and pensive, this sumptuously melodic bridge to the final trio of tracks will restore a sense of calm and tranquility in stark contrast to the high energy numbers that preceded it.

"Singing The Sun Up" is another uplifting tune featuring soulful horns and a funky guitar riff for which singing along with is all but inevitable. Once again, Tommy John's masterful guitar playing makes this an especially enjoyable track.

"Who Needs Love" is a magnificent foray into the gospel genre that West handles expertly. A keyboard driven track with a wonderful backing choir evokes the joy and elation one would expect to be found in any one of our nation's Protestant houses of worship. Several soloists soulfully enjoin us to love one another as West's vocals lead the way.

The final track, is actually a twofer. A delightful medley of Kenny Loggin's "Danny's Song" and "It's Not Easy" from the Disney musical "Pete's Dragon," we are treated to the voices of West's adorable son (to whom the track is dedicated) and his long time partner DJ Williams.

""A Fond Farewell"" is a terrific offering that you will thoroughly enjoy because it encompasses so many diverse musical influences, delivered flawlessly and with an appealing sincerity that's quite rare to find in today's music business. So pick up this great CD today and let Michael West's beautiful musical light shine on you.


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A Fond Farewell
REVIEW by Eric Hawley - a fan

I just purchased Michael West's newest album "A Fond Farewell". I was throughly blown away by how strong the vocals were, that combined with the lyrics pulls you into each song. You can tell that they were written with feeling. Michael is truly an untapped talent in the music industry, Nashville, Hollywood or who ever needs their eyes opened to him. One of my favorite artists of our time.

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A Fond Farewell - a fan review

The review before mine speaks for itself. This is an absolute stellar album. It takes you from one raw emotion to the next. The only problem I have is choosing my favorite song on here. With so many supurb songs with equally-supurb vocals included, I cannot narrow my favorite down to just one song. KUDOS, Michael! FIVE STARS, all the way! Also, to the customer: purchase this album with confidence. You will not be disappointed.

--Jason E. Bolton, Author
Knoxville, Tennessee
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