After two years as a band, country quartet Gone West has officially released its debut album, Canyons, which arrived on June 12. Members Colbie Caillat, Justin Kawika Young, Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy officially formed the group in 2018 after years of friendship, combining their different musical styles to form a warm and unique sound showcasing all four voices.
"We're a harmony-driven band," Caillat told PopCulture.com. "There's four of us, so it's a four-part harmony. We come from different styles of music in different places like California, Iowa, Texas and Hawaii. Growing up listening to classic rock, reggae, R&B, soul, country music." The Grammy winner shared that she and her bandmates wanted to incorporate their own styles and the styles of music that they "naturally loved," using harmonies to create their signature sound. Before forming Gone West, Caillat found fame as a pop artist, Kawika Young was working as an artist in the Hawaiian music scene, Reeves was a singer/songwriter and Joy was part of country duo The JaneDear Girls. All four members helped write all of Canyon's 13 tracks, and Caillat shared that the project covers "the highs and lows of life and love."
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"There's a lot of heartbreak songs on the album, but we feel like those are what we all relate to when we have our favorite songs that we listen to," she explained. "We wanted to be able to give that to people to feel like they're not alone going through any of those situations, whether it's a loss or a heartbreak." The California native added that Canyons has a "classic rock feel" with elements like bright acoustic guitars and reminds her of iconic harmony-driven bands like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. Canyons contains Gone West's debut single "What Could've Been," which also appeared on their 2019 EP, Tides.
Caillat rose to fame through MySpace before earning pop hits like "Bubbly" and "Try," but she shared that being a solo artist was never her only goal. "I always wanted to be in a band," she revealed. "For me, this was something I looked forward to doing eventually at some point in my career." The 35-year-old added that she knew it would be "so special" to form that band with her "three great friends" and noted that many people don't know that the members of Gone West have known each other for 15 years. "This is really just a natural progression for us to start a band together," she said. "And I do think it's important for all of us to find the balance of being fully in Gone West and also not losing sight of who we were before that and still having our individual sound and music eventually at some point as well." You can stream Canyons here.