If you like rich, soulful indie-folk rock, you’ll probably appreciate the musical stylings of The Westwards. The group formed while most of the members were in high school in El Dorado Hills, less than three years ago. The lead singer, Stefan Sorgea was auditioning for The Voice, and long-time concert promoter Jerry Perry saw him perform and said Sorgea should let him know if he ever started a band.
Sorgea did start a band and Perry took them under his wing, booking them shows in smaller venues around the Sacramento region.
“He let us be heard and put us on bills,” said Nick Cunningham, who plays guitar and piano in the band.
Cunningham says the sound they’re going for has roots in folk.
“We can all appreciate a good melody,” said Cunningham. “Writing something catchy that’s still listenable. We like the folk base to write the songs around, but we try to take it one step further by putting our own spin on it.”
Here’s a live version of their song “Tennessee.”
Cunningham said the band is made up of a bunch of songwriters from the same time. Most of the band writes and records their own music. Because of this, songwriting for The Westwards became a very collaborative process.
“When we sit down to write a song we all get in a room and pass an idea around, taking it one step further with each person,” explained Cunningham. He says that process has allowed them all to grow as songwriters and develop a mature sound.
With everyone studying at different colleges the group jumps on every opportunity to play together over the school year.
“We try to get back to make it seem like we’re relevant in the scene,” said Cunningham. “The summers are really the time when we buckle down and do the most shows and events.”
They’ll be back in town March 26 to play at the Sacramento News and Review's music award show, The Sammies, at Ace Of Spades.
“Being nominated for a Sammy; that alone gives us some assurance that we’re doing something right,” said Cunningham.
Stefan Sorgea: Lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Nick Cunningham: Electric guitar, piano
Mitch Gimenstein: Drums and percussion
Alex Mills: Electric guitar
Madi Sipes: Bass, Backup vocals
Jerry Perry’s Alive and Kicking session with Stefan Sorgeo and Madi Sipes.