Westwind proudly bears the label “modern country” (the phrase appears on its business cards next to its lasso-wielding-cowboy logo), but this KC-based quartet avoids the pratfalls that plague many of its peers. Anthony Williams’ nearly twang-free voice is more reminiscent of James Taylor than Clint Black, while the band’s songs eschew the blinding pop polish preferred by some top-charting crossover-country artists. “Midnight Oil” gets this demo off to an upbeat start with shimmering guitar and cheery keyboard accents, while the somber weeper “Everything Makes a Sound” brings the house back down with its slow pace and depressing lyrics. Westwind ends with the party anthem “Country Proud,” on which Williams declares Put that Stetson on my head/’Cuz I’m ready to cut loose as the band plays some rollicking honky-tonk and joins in for a few rousing harmonies. A longtime favorite in local clubs, Westwind is accessible to rope in a few nontraditionalists while still appealing to the old-school contingent.

Categories: Music