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March 25, 2017: The Pines with Stanton West

March 25, 2017
The Pines with Stanton West
Suggested donation: $10

The Midwest is to The Pines what Monument Valley was to filmmaker John Ford. The flat, endless expanses of the band’s native Iowa are at once the settings of, characters in, and muse behind the songs on their new album, Above The Prairie. Songwriters David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey-who along with Benson’s brother Alex form the band’s touring trio format-craft their music with a filmmaker’s keen eye for detail and framing, blending celestial, ethereal atmospherics with rich, warm vocals and earthy acoustic instruments. It’s a gripping brew that demands your total presence, transporting you into vividly painted musical and lyrical snapshots.

‘Almost all of the songs on the album are somewhere between the first and third take,’ says Huckfelt. ‘It was a matter of capturing raw performances and preserving that spirit, of not losing the energy of the songs in the recording of them.’

‘It’s kind of a risky way to work,’ adds Ramsey, ‘but we went back to Iowa and just did it in three days and that was pretty much it. It’s almost like a photograph.’

Much like the photograph on the album’s cover-which depicts a stunning nighttime landscape of wide-open grassland spotted with crumbling, abandoned cabins beneath an infinitely expansive galaxy of stars-the songs on Above The Prairie at once evoke the vastness of space, the ceaseless passage of time, the beauty of Earth, and the inescapable loneliness of inhabiting it.

Folksinger Stanton West sees the world from the perspective of a six and a half foot tall, left handed, freckle faced, red head. Realizing he would never quite fit the mold he embraced his uniqueness, picked up a right-handed guitar and started playing it upside down. This was his first break from creative structures and limitations.

Coming out of an abusive past and long winters facing depression has shaped his outlook of the world. But instead of wallowing in the past West’s songs focus on a better future.

Stanton West songs are rootsy, feel-good, and groove driven. His songs are about hope, having fun, being who you are, and relishing the moment.

He is an award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and world traveling troubadour who has a message about the importance of family, community, nature, and being a positive creative force in a world that needs it.