Portland might be known for being rainy, but the sunny folk sound coming from Will West and the Friendly Strangers belies the City of Roses' famous precipitation. West's honey-smooth vocals overlay a crunchy, rollicking set up of mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass and harmonica. Tracks like "Everytime" (Take this Moment, 2011) are a master class in the Pacific Northwest indie folk style, with callbacks lending a foot-stomping revival twist. "Miles & Miles" (Sunshine, 2012) incorporates a laid-back jazz vibe with organ and muted trumpet, representing the "groove fusion" portion of the band's tagline.
Will West has come a long way since settling in Portland in 2002 and launching his career as one of the city's countless buskers. Today, he and the Friendly Strangers are in the vanguard of the regional folk and bluegrass scene and will be rubbing shoulders in Boise at Pengilly's Saloon with Portland Cello Project and Vagabond Opera master cellist Skip vonKuske, and percussionist Don Henson, of Sneakin' Out and Pink Martini.