‘We Are The West’ Will Headline 4th

01-We Are the WestWe Are The West had to travel far to find their way home.

The three members of the evocative, melodic band grew up many miles from each other. Singer and guitarist Brett Hool was raised in Pacific Palisades, upright bass player John Kibler hailed from the small town of Warsaw, New York, and the final member, drummer Elizabeth Goodfellow, grew up in Stockton.

They each then lived in diverse places, such as the Bay Area, New York City, Paris and Amsterdam. Kibler and Hool met first and became a duo, then three years ago, they were introduced to Goodfellow.

From the moment the trio played together, they hit a groove. “We played through every song we had cooking,” Hool said. That included about 25 songs in a “wash of incredible music, a playground of fun songs,” Goodfellow added.

The three jammed in a Santa Monica underground parking garage that is We Are The West’s home for the monthly immersive concerts they play on the Saturday before each full moon.

On the Fourth of July, the band will bring its experimental folk to the 9th Annual Palisades Rocks the Fourth in a concert that will mix subtle, warm songs with some familiar covers. Guest stars, including saxophonist Sylvain Carton and pedal-steel guitar player Tim Walker, will join the mix to entertain Palisadians on their favorite day of the summer.

“We’re honored to be a part of it and to be chosen to bring everyone together on that night,” Goodfellow said. “It’ll be so exciting to play a set and have the fireworks go off right afterwards.”

Event organizer Keith Turner heard We Are the West at one of the band’s monthly concerts, and he was so impressed that he invited them to headline the show. “I have seen We Are the West perform three separate times,” Turner said. “Each show was incredible. These are top musicians who are on the verge of breaking through to the next level.”

The band’s musical journey thus far has been gentle, yet meandering. Goodfellow had perhaps the most straightforward path. Growing up playing traditional jazz at her Central Valley schools, she studied at San Jose State and simultaneously played with the 561st Air National Guard Band of the West Coast. In 2013, she moved to Los Angeles.

“I came here to focus on playing music I loved instead of saying yes to every gig that came along,” Goodfellow said, and the choice couldn’t have worked out better for her. “It’s heaven—everything I thought it would be.”

Palisadian Hool and his eventual bandmate and fellow lyricist Kibler met through a mutual friend in the Santa Monica music scene, but their music really gelled in Holland and New York. In Holland, they rented a shipping container on a sheep farm and spent a month creating together.

“It was our studio,” Kibler said, and in a sense the unusual aspect of that setting became a signature for them. When they moved back to the U.S. and began playing around New York and Brooklyn, they found their music was not at first the best fit with the loud club scene.

“We wanted to create environments that fit the music,” Kibler said, “so the minute you’re there, you’re open to something new. It started out of necessity,” and turned into a good method to connect with concertgoers. We Are The West played concerts in an abandoned convent, an impound tow lot, a Masonic temple, and now their regular gig in the Santa Monica parking garage.

Since then, their music has matured, and they have played at more traditional venues, such as the Troubadour and The Fonda Theatre, while also continuing to use unique spaces like an old silent movie theater in Buffalo. “We’ve definitely moved on from there, but that’s the philosophy of where it started,” Kibler noted

“We’ve been patient with allowing this to grow,” Hool added. “It feels solid, because we’re doing it in our own time and our own way.”

Palisades musicians interested in joining the band as guest stars can email Keith Turner at kjt@turnerlawapc.com. We Are The West play their next underground concert on May 21, and details can be found at wearethewest.com.

By LAUREL BUSBY, Staff Writer

John Kibler, Brett Hool and Elizabeth Goodfellow are We Are the West.. Photo: Lesly Hall

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