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Friday, 24 June 2011

On October 16, 2010,  my mother passed away.   She was my biggest fan,  and I was proud that she got to know so many of my musician friends.  

Over the past few weeks I have received a lot of condolences.   I would like to publicly thank everyone for their friendship and support during this difficult time.

This website hasn't been updated as frequently as it should be because I have understandably had other things on my mind lately.   As I start to work my way back into tending to the music career,  I will try my best to keep it updated more frequently.

Steve


Posted by westguitar at 4:28 PM EDT
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Saturday, 30 October 2010
Finding Normal

For many of you who have seen me perform,  you know that it's a common sight to see a beautiful, white haired lady sitting in the audience looking very proud.   That, of course,  is my mom.   When I first started playing out,  I was nervous,  and maybe even a little embarrassed to have her there all the time.  She didn't care.  By God,  she bought my first guitar and she was going to go listen to me play.   In time,  I grew to appreciate,  and in fact have been very honored to have her come to so many of my shows. 

 Three years ago,  the doctors found a lesion on her liver.   It was in fact, confirmed to be cancer.    There were a number of things they could try,  but they told us the best they could hope to do was slow things down.   There is no cure for liver cancer.    Doctors are reluctant to put a time table on anything,  but they said that the average life expectancy for a patient from the time of diagnosis is about six months.   If you've had the good fortune to meet my mom,  you know that she is anything but average.  Three years later,  she is still with us.  

A friend said to me that she was diagnosed so long ago that we've kind of gotten used to her living with cancer.  Sadly, things have started to get real.  She spent some time in the hospital,  and we were finally told that really all that's left is to try to keep her comfortable for as long as we can.

Mom decided that her own home is where she wants to be.   We brought her home and got her set up for home hospice care.   There will be visiting nurses to help keep her comfortable,  but for the most part,  my brother and sisters and I will be her primary care givers.    One sister and I are living with her,  and the others all live close by.     Just one night at home has already made a world of difference in her spirits.   The goal of the hospice care is to give her more good days like this.    For how long,  we don't know.   Our energies are better concentrated on enjoying the moment we're in than worrying about the moments to come.

 I've told you all of that,  in order to tell you this:  My family,  including my mom,  have reminded me that I will need to maintain some semblance of a normal life.   That includes going to work.    I've got some gigs coming up.   I'm just not sure I'll be at all of them.   The plain truth is that my mind may very well be elsewhere.   As things change with my mom's condition,  I may need to cancel on some short notice.    Fortunately,  I have a network of amazing friends who have offered to cover for me whenever I need it.   I'm more than confident that if you show up someplace thinking you're going to see Steve West and somebody else is there,  you won't be disappointed with the show you get.   

Thank you for all the kind words of support,  and the prayers on behalf of my mom and my family.   

Steve


Posted by westguitar at 3:21 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 30 October 2010 3:22 PM EDT
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Monday, 22 June 2009
Live, Local music

I send out an email every so often listing upcoming gigs.  You can sign up for it below if you like.   I usually remind the folks on my list to go support live, local music whenever they can.  Even if it's not me!

This past Saturday night,  I didn't have a gig of my own,  so I decided to practice what I preach.  I went out and heard a couple of bands.  They were nobody I had ever heard of before.  One band was ok,  the other wasn't my cup of tea.  But that's ok.  The point is,  I was out there not only supporting the local bands,  but supporting the businesses that support local bands.  Putting a cd on is the easiest thing for a business to do.  The ones who take a chance on live music are really worth supporting because they keep creativity alive.   I hope you'll think about seeing some live music when you're making your decisions about what to do for entertainment.


Posted by westguitar at 11:04 AM EDT
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Monday, 1 June 2009
Looking Back, Looking Ahead

This week,  one of the places that I've played regularly for the last year and a half,  The River's Edge Restaurant in Fillmore will be changing hands.  Mine will be the last show there on Saturday.   They will close for a week or two,  then new owners will re-open after they make some changes to the physical layout.   I'm not sure about their plans for entertainment.

     The occasion brings to mind some of the other places I've played that are no longer there.  Canaseraga Hardware & Coffee Company, Daily Perks, The Paradigm Cafe', The Roasted Bean, Chocolate Bar, Java House,  just to name a few.   Some closed for financial reasons while some had other reasons.   Whatever the reason, it's always disappointing as a musician to have one less place to play.

Although this isn't the ideal economy to open a new business,  there are always people out there with that entrepeneurial spirit that makes America great.   I'm hoping that the atmosphere created by live, local music is just what someone out there is looking for to enhance their new business.    Things will be alright.


Posted by westguitar at 10:07 AM EDT
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Monday, 6 April 2009
Nice Surprises

What I do for a living brings me into contact with a lot of people.   I like that.  There's always a surprise waiting for me.  Sometimes it's somebody I haven't seen in a while at one of my gigs.  Sometimes,  it's someone new.    Last week,  I had both happen.   A couple that I haven't seen in ages was at one of my gigs.  It was nice to catch up on old times and take a walk down memory lane.  Then,  at my weekly open mic at Muddy Waters,  I met someone new.   She had sat there quietly most of the night.  Right at the end,  her friend twisted her arm to get up and sing.   Man, oh man she blew the doors off the joint.   It was a great way to end a great evening.   

I can hardly wait to see what happens this week.    


Posted by westguitar at 2:34 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 24 March 2009
Summer Jobs
 I've started to line up some gigs for the summer.  Some are one time gigs.   There are a couple of weddings at which I'll be singing. (Hopefully those are one time deals)    Others will be returning engagements.  I like those.  By nature,  performers tend to be slightly insecure,  and getting asked back to play somewhere you've played before is a shot of confidence that someone out there likes you.

Posted by westguitar at 5:44 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 17 March 2009
So uh, What do you do?
 I was recently asked to describe my music.   That is often difficult for me.  I tend to move between many styles depending on the setting,  and depending on my mood.   I try to size up the audience as I'm performing and guess what they're in the mood to hear,  but sometimes I just take a shotgun approach.   A little bit of blues,  some old country,  some standards,  a little bit of pop,  maybe some jazz mixed in.    Give everyone a taste of something they'll like,  and more often than not,  something they didn't expect.   The one thing I have come to truly believe is that no matter how many songs I know and how many styles I play,  without fail someone will request something I don't know!

Posted by westguitar at 8:49 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Lions and Lambs

The old saying is,  if March comes in like a lion,  it will go out like a lamb.   I have to admit,  where I am,  we didn't quite get the big snow storm the rest of the East Coast got,  but it was COLD.   I'm going to put it sqarely in the lion column.     I am really looking forward to spring.  It's my favorite season.   Everything starts to regain a little color,  and there is always the promise of new life.

It's also a good time to start thinking about those outdoor gigs!


Posted by westguitar at 6:33 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 3 March 2009
It's About Time

Yes,  I am finally updating my website.  I few weeks ago,  my computer got sick,  and I haven't done much with this website ever since.  However,  It's time to get back into the swing of things and keep it up to date so I can continue to call myself a professional.

If you've been to my website before,  you know I often use this front page to write about different things that are going on in my life,  both musically,  and sometimes on a more personal level.   In the future,  I'm going to do my best to keep the upcoming gigs section up to date,  but you may notice less frequent updates to the front page.  The headline above says, "It's About Time,"  and I've decided that in the short term,  my time is better spent not sitting in front of the computer quite so often.  


Posted by westguitar at 8:26 AM EST
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Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Happy New Year
Hello my friends!   What a year 2008 has been.  It started kind of slow,  but ended up being my most productive year ever, musically speaking.
I found some new places to play,  returned to some old favorite places,  and sadly, saw one or two places for the last time.
I got a chance to play with some great musicians,  and also saw my solo act expand into new directions as I had an opportunity to play on my own more than ever before.  One of the highlights has to be when my friend Deb Herbert came home from Denmark for a visit and we played a gig at The Big Tree Inn in Geneseo.   We had hundreds of people partying on Main Street as we turned the front porch into a stage,  and jammed with a band of local all stars.   What a night.   Speaking of bands,  W.B. Blues went "on hiatus,"  which is to say we didn't officially break up.  Our lives just got suffiently busy that we decided to put the project on the back burner for a while.   We did one last set at the Geneseo Summer Festival in the park,  which seemed a fitting place to go out in front of so many familiar faces.  I am happy to say that although we aren't performing together as a trio,  there isn't any acrimony among the members,  and you can still occasionally see any combination of the members sitting in with each other for a song or two at various jams.  The week before Christmas even saw an impromtu reunion as the three of us played a set of blues Christmas Carols. at the Beale Street Son House night.
In the area of my personal life,  well it has been a tumultuous year.   There has been some romance and some.....non-romance (is that a word?)  I think I'll just leave it at that.
I made some real progress on getting my barn one step closer to being the music studio I envision,  but also had longer periods of inactivity on the property.  
2008 is also the year my mother was diagnosed with cancer.  If you've been through this,  you know that absolutely everything else takes a back seat.  Gigs, property, bands, love life  all go out the window and you just concentrate on your loved one.    You also draw stength from those around you,  and I found out just how many wonderful friends I really have.  That includes many of you who may be reading this.  Your prayers and messages of support during that time helped me, and my mom more than I can ever express.   I'm happy to report that her treatment seemed to be successful and while we can't say the cancer is gone, things are headed in the right direction at this time.   I can't say Thank You enough times to all of you who expressed your support directly,  and to those of you who just quietly remembered my family in your prayers.  
Who knows what 2009 will bring?   As I write this,  I realize that a year never ends the way you think it will based on the beginning.  I'm sure it will be full of surprises,  both good and bad.   Here's hoping that your journey to the end of 2009 is safe,  happy, and bountiful.
Cheers!

Posted by westguitar at 8:34 PM EST
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