Carrie Westbay & the Wayward Sons • Best Original Band

32nd Annual Review Music Awards Profile

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature, Review Music Awards,   From Issue 865   By: Matt deHeus

26th July, 2018     0

Like many little girls of the last couple of generations, Review Music Award winner Carrie Westbay’s dreams were first brought to life through the stories and songs of the Disney princesses.  In those days, however, the singer now known for her gritty originals and faithful renditions of roadhouse favorites would make her mother wonder “where is that song coming from”, as the tone of a “high pitched Snow White” wafted through the family’s hallways.

Fast forward a year or few and Westbay is now one of the hardest working musicians in our region, and with her latest win at this year’s 32nd Annual Review Music Awards, she is also one of the most decorated.

“ Carrie's a wonderful musician but excels when singing Janis Joplin. She has the rawness in her voice that Janis had, and few can really sing with such passion. She also has the depth of Janis, yet it's all Carrie! -   Andria Hahn-Kavanagh, Facebook

It is fair to say that Westbay works the “four corners” of Michigan, as she might travel hundreds of miles in any given week, playing solo, with bands Limelight or Carrie and the Wayward Sons or the duo Party of Two.

As Westbay explained, “We will go from Alpena to Traverse City.  We played gigs in Ludington and Ypsilanti.  I am doing it all the time.  When I am not working, I am looking for ways to get more work.”

On the night I sat down with Carrie and Wayward Son Brad MacKinnon, they were doing their regular “Westbay Wednesday” at Bemo’s Bar.  The combo performed as a duo, as well as hosting a freewheeling jam session / open mic with musical friends and guests.

When you see Westbay perform, it is easy to see why she and her various acts are in such demand and why she is now approaching double figures in Review Award wins.  Music clearly comes naturally to her.  She digs into the songs and makes them her own, while also showing the ability to draw the other musicians onstage into the same organic space where the best music is made.

"Chains" has been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard it. I like how it shows Carrie's range in voice; it hits me hard and connects with some stuff from my past. I believe songs that connect with the listener always leave a strong impression. - Allan Menzies, Facebook

Reading Facebook posts on Westbay’s personal page, as well as those for Limelight and the Wayward Sons, she connects with her fans in a special way.

MacKinnon mentioned that fans offer up their opinion of support for “old school” Westbay in a very modern way.    “The most common thing they say is ‘Why aren’t you on the Voice.’”, he notes.

While Westbay is flattered by her friends and fans, feelings of her skill and their desire for her to get recognition, she instead focuses on keeping things simplified.

“I don’t need things that bring me down,” she reflects.  “If my cell phone is pissing me off, I go work in the garden, or work on a song.”

Westbay is currently taking the results of this work (the songwriting, not the gardening) to Chris Lewis at Fire Hyena Studios, where she is nearing completion on an album titled “Nostalgia.”  If the songs she played at Bemo’s are an example of what to expect, it should prove to be one more strong offering from the region’s original artists.

You can find out more about Carrie, Limelight or the Wayward Sons on Facebook or catch them at a roadhouse near you and find out what all the buzz is about.  

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