By Dominique WaldThere are many things that brought Will West to Portland’s music scene, but it was an overheated car engine that made him stay.
West began his journey as a singer and songwriter during his years at University of North Carolina. In 2001, he visited family in Portland and promised himself that within the year he’d make the move out West.
Almost exactly a year later, he fulfilled that promise, packing his belongings and moving to Portland. As a new musician, West said, he had trouble getting a formal gig, and after a couple years he made the decision to pack up his van and head back home.
“I had said my goodbyes and was ready to leave when my car overheated and I couldn’t leave,” West said. “I always tell people that had my engine not overheated, I probably wouldn’t have stayed in Portland.”
Fate dealt him a lucky hand, and West was able to release his first studio album in 2007. He describes his sound as a mix of modern folk and pop.
West is now eager to take the stage with his band, the Friendly Strangers, on Wednesday at John’s Alley Tavern in Moscow.
“This is my first time in Moscow, and I’m really excited,” West said. “People who are coming to the show should expect to be surprised. We go all over the place, style-wise.”
Although it has been years since West first entered the music industry, he says he finds new challenges every day.
“It’s always challenging to find new ways to push yourself, but I love performing,” West said. “It can be a small crowd or a large crowd … we’ve embraced enjoying the process, no matter what.”
If You Go
What: Will West and the Friendly Strangers
Where: John’s Alley Tavern, 116 E. Sixth St., Moscow
Cost: $5 cover at the door