By ASHLEY CENTERSFor Inland 360
While West My Friend’s latest album was named “Quiet Hum,” the life of this Canadian indie folk roots band is anything but. After recently performing its 500th show, the group will brings its progressive four-part harmonies and eclectic instrumental sound Saturday to Artisans at the Dahmen Barn in Uniontown.
“We’re an acoustic blend of instruments (guitar, mandolin, accordion and double bass) and four-part vocals,” said Jeff Poynter, vocalist and accordion player. “It’s kind of like if the Punch Brothers, Beirut, Owen Pallett and Joanna Newsom all walked into a bar and got classical music degrees there.”
Poynter and friends formed the band for fun at the University of Victoria, where they all studied music — each focusing on a different instrument than they now play in the band. They each started instrumental lessons around age 5. For West My Friend, each concentrated on a single instrument to help clarify the band’s sound, Poynter said. Together for almost nine years, they’ve spent the last six years touring the world.
“I’ve been playing music all my life,” Poynter said, “so it’s been a long progression from Orff lessons (an early-childhood music program) as a child, to high school concert band, to a university degree in saxophone, to playing accordion in a folk band in Uniontown.”
Poynter said the audience can expect silly banter but also serious music and well-thought-out arrangements — along with a dose of polite Canadian charm.
“Quiet Hum” was released in 2016, and the band hopes to add an EP sometime this fall.
“It was recorded on a small gulf island off the coast of Vancouver, and the album contemplates the role of music and musicians in our present day,” Poynter said. “It’s more intimate and stripped down than our previous albums, focusing more on the four of us and less on adding extra instrumentation.”
Find West My Friend’s music on Spotify and at bandcamp.com.
IF YOU GO
WHO: West My Friend
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Artisans at the Dahmen Barn, 419 N. Parkway, Uniontown
COST: $15 adults, $10 children 12 and younger