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   Best known for his Hawaiian slack key guitar releases, Jim Kimo West brings a world of influences to this recording. The sonic palette reaches from contemporary Hawaiian to Middle Eastern, Andalusian, West African, Americana and orchestral, all complimented by a stellar cast of players on steel guitar, cello, violin, viola, flute, percussion and upright bass with Kimo performing on acoustic and electric guitars, baritone guitar, Moog guitar, electric bass and more.

Reviews:

"The Hawaiian tradition of ki hoalu, or slack key guitar, has been embraced by many musicians outside Hawaii. One of them is California guitarist Jim Kimo West, who combines slack key techniques with other styles of “world music” in this collection of nine original instrumental compositions.

He opens with a beautiful piece of slack key in its purest form: a single acoustic guitar. Almost all the songs that follow are more complicated in terms of the instrumentation. On some of them West plays several instruments, on others studio guests join him.

West shares his aloha for the various places and people who inspired him in the liner notes. He shows his commitment to the traditions of ki hoalu by including the tunings for each song as well."

Jon Berger, Honolulu Star Advertiser

CD art & liner notes (5.5mb)

 


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CD booklet: Lo Res | Hi Res

   Kimo's latest CD is another pristenly-recorded collection of holiday classics that will bring Hawaii's warm trade winds and glistening oceans to your Christmas season, no matter where you live and even when "the weather outside is frightening"!

Kimo utilizes six- string slack key guitars in various tunings, slack key baritone guitar, ukulele and Nashville-tuned slack key guitar to create these unique island-style arrangements of memorable melodies, as well as a new original composition, "Kanikapila Christmas".

The stunning block-print cover art is by award-winning Hawaii artist, Caren Loebel-Fried (www.carenloebelfried.com)

The perfect gift and one that everyone will appreciate for years to come!

Reviews:

"For those burned out on hearing the same Christmas tunes every year, West has provided a radiant alternative. "Jingle Bell Rock" is suitably upbeat but magical. West has revived the sense of wonder which once fueled the track, covered enough times to make anyone gag. Given the slack-key guitar treatment, it sounds fresh and alive. “Sleigh Ride” swings from a spellbinding web of instrumental wizardry. "Away in a Manger" is turned into a fragile lullaby. One can imagine the snowflakes gradually falling in the stunningly beautiful "The Christmas Song." West’s playing throughout the CD is enchanting and atmospheric, capturing the wintry beauty of the holiday like few have done in the last couple of decades."

Stacey Zering, NoDepression.com

 

Mele Kalikimaka (mp3, 1mb)
The Christmas Song (mp3, 875k)
Kanikapila Christmas (mp3, 1mb)
Away In A Manger (mp3, 825k)
Bring A Torch, Jeannette, Isabella (mp3, 735k)


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CD booklet: Lo Res | Hi Res

   The skies of Maui are ever-changing, dramatic and full of surprise, just like life itself. This collection of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian "slack key" guitar instrumentals speaks of the warm trade winds, sparkling blue oceans and the peaceful sunsets that are part of everyday life in Hawai'i. Even older than the blues, Hawaiian slack key has it's roots in 1830's Hawaii, when guitars were first brought by Spanish "vaquieros" who came over to teach Hawaiians about managing cattle. Jim "Kimo" West has been playing and recording slack key guitar for over twenty years and and has a number of awards to his credit. He can often be found in Hana, Maui, at any of the state's slack key festivals and perhaps having some "kau kau" at one of the island's ubiquitous food stands!

 

Two Paniolos (mp3, 940k)
Holoholo Hana Bay (mp3, 775k)
Nani Kaua'i (mp3, 884k)
Maui Skies (mp3, 787k)
Pua Tuberose (mp3, 1mb)



The cover art on this CD is a hand-colored block print by the amazing Caren Loebel-Fried. To see more of her work, visit www.carenloebelfried.com

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CD booklet: Lo Res | Hi Res

   The perfect holiday gift!

Hawaii Music Award Winner! Na Hoku Hanohano nominee!

Jim "Kimo" West's long-awaited Christmas slack key CD, Kimo's Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas, is a collection of traditional and contemporary holiday songs plus an original composition, "Mauna Kea Sleigh Ride", all done in Kimo's gentle, "nahenahe" style.

"Over the years I've been asked my so many people to record a Christmas "slack key" guitar CD.I had some free time over the 2007 Christmas holidays and, as I was in the spirit of the season, I decided to record this CD."

Christmas songs played from the heart with a breezy and island-y feel!

Reviews:

"The sound of the guitar on "Kimo's Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas" IS distinctive to our 50th, having originated with Hawaiian cowboys. Jim "Kimo" West has lots of style and magic in his playing, making this yet another in the pile of high-quality guitar recordings this season that I'm sure nearly anyone would love."

Dr.Christmas 15th Roundup of New Christmas CD's

 

Winter Wonderland (mp3, 684k)
Silver Bells (mp3, 878k)
The First Noel (mp3, 600k)
White Christmas (mp3, 683k)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (mp3, 599k)


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CD booklet: Lo Res | Hi Res

   Another warm and island-y collection of original compositions and new arrangements of classic songs in Kimo's unique "nahenahe" style. With its superb recording quality and evocative sonic landscape, Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar: Kimo-Style reinforces Kimo's legacy as one of ki ho'alu's true masters and will undoubtedly prove that slack key guitar is still a living and evolving acoustic guitar tradition.

Amazon.com says:

"Acclaimed by many as one of the top players of this great acoustic guitar tradition, "Kimo" delivers eight strong new original compositions and five unique arrangements of Hawaiian classics. Standout tracks include a haunting cover of John Lennon's "Imagine" and a blistering arrangement of the hapa-haole classic, "Little Grass Shack"."

Strawberry Guavas (mp3, 639k)
Hana Highway Slack Key (mp3, 754k)
Lullaby For My Tutu (mp3, 1.4mb)
Little Grass Shack (mp3, 1mb)
Imagine (mp3, 1.2mb)


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CD booklet: Lo Res | Hi Res

   Jim "Kimo” West’s second CD, Slack Key West, is another great collection of uniquely original ki ho ‘alu instrumentals, with a few choice covers thrown in the mix. Like his initial outing, "Coconut Hat”, this CD is full of warm, acoustic slack key instrumentals, based on his ever-evolving collection of experiences in the beautiful islands of Hawai’i, and showcases Kimo’s fluid technique and unusual tunings. The CD’s song notes add another dimension to the experience, providing the listener with insight into the inspiration behind these compositions. Whether you’re a fan of Hawaiian music or not, this CD is sure to stay at the top of your playlist!

Reviews:

"I wanted to let you know how much I have been enjoying "Slack Key West"....I love the diversity of music, the types, and mostly, your tremendous playing...I like the way you bring so many different and varied techniques to the songs....You really do make old standards like "Beyond the Reef" really come alive in such a neat modern way while linking to the past”

"I just wanted to write you and tell you that I LOVE your new cd. It's amazing. It's the stuff that gives me chills, man! It's great!”

My Hawaiian Heart (mp3, 521k)
Popoke Lolo (mp3, 451k)
Lei Aloha (mp3, 596k)
Espaniolo (mp3, 462k)


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CD booklet: Lo Res | Hi Res

   Coconut Hat, Jim "Kimo" West’s first "slack key" guitar CD, is a warm and relaxing instrumental travelogue of Maui’s enchanting Hana Coast. Full of melodic and mostly original compositions, this CD showcases Jim’s fluid ki ho‘alu technique and engaging musicality. Standouts include original compositions "Lanikele," "’Ulupalakua Sunset" and "Holoholo Helen Style." While honoring the great tradition of ki ho‘alu, Jim infuses these 13 tracks with his own rich musical heritage.

Amazon.com reviews:

"This is one of the most beautiful albums I have. It is so relaxing after a stressful day...just gets the knots right out of my soul! I highly recommend this CD to anyone who cherishes great music."

"The talent and feeling Jim puts into his music makes the slow, relaxing sounds of Cereus just as exciting to listen to as the bright, intricate sounds of Na Manu Iki. All I can say to Jim West is, mahalo nui loa!"

"Living in a big noisy city this CD keeps me mellow. Jim finds a way with his music to make you feel like your in the islands. Each melody has a story of it's own and Jim plays so you feel it. Please keep playing!"

Cereus (mp3, 220k)
Lanikele (mp3, 418k)
Coconut Hat (mp3, 447k)
Paliku (mp3, 323k)
Ulupalakua Sunset (mp3, 421k)


 

Hotel California (mp3, 1.2mb)
Already Gone (mp3, 746k)
Best Of My Love (mp3, 1.1mb)
Heartache Tonight (mp3, 1.3mb)

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   Just Released!!
Hotel Honolulu-The Hawaiian Tribute to the Eagles

Kimo’s second CD for LA’s CMH Records is a warm and trade-windy tribute to the venerable LA band, The Eagles. Done in the old traditional Hawaiian style, "Hotel Honolulu” takes the great and memorable songs of the Eagles and infuses them with the warm tropical sounds of "slack key” guitar, ukulele, steel guitar and Hawaiian percussion, (all played by Kimo) to create something completely new.

Available at major retailers including Wal Mart, Best Buy and at www.cmhrecords.com.

Reviews:

What would it sound like if the Eagles' hits were recorded by an old-style Hawaiian instrumental group? Producer/arranger James "Kimo" West and steel guitarist Greg Leisz provide the answer with this collection of 11 Eagles classics played on traditional Hawaiian instruments. No one thus far has matched the Eagles' versions of those songs, but West has succeeded in putting them in a fresh and romantic context. It's beautiful background music at the least!

West opens with "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and continues at random through "Already Gone," "New Kid in Town" and "The Long Run," to name three. He interprets these well-known melodies with an assortment of guitars, ukulele, steel guitar, bass, vibes and Hawaiian percussion. The guitars, ukulele and steel guitar share the spotlight in defining the melodies (and subbing for the Eagles' vocalists). West's skill as an arranger in featuring first one instrument and then another make this potentially problematic theme album surprisingly interesting.

The interplay between the various instruments merits attention and makes this album more than a novelty. The occasional use of Hawaiian percussion (on "One of These Nights") and vibes adds texture.

John Berger, Honolulu Star Bulletin

 

"The "Hawaiian Tribute to the Eagles/Hotel Honolulu” (CMH Records, Los Angeles, CA) is simply brilliant. This newly released CD is produced and arranged by Jim "Kimo” West and features the "nahenahe” (soft/sweet) sounds of his slack key guitar and is wonderfully complemented by Kimo on steel guitar, as well.

A must have for fans of the Eagles music and for those who love Hawaiian music as well. For those who remember the words to sing along – you go brah! Otherwise grab an Eagles songbook, a cool tropical drink, kick off your shoes, smell the plumeria and get ready for a trip to the Islands and back in time.

If you listen carefully, you may hear more of the Hawaiian sounds. Hawaiian vamps, ‘ili’ili stones, pahu drum, ukuleles, pu’ili sticks and perhaps even a bit of the ipu heke.

Hana Hou? No worries, there are plenty of great Eagles songs left out there for a sequel. Including my personal favorite "The Last Resort”. The powerful lyrical message against rampant development, turning any paradise into a mere commodity, it is as valid today on Maui (Kona and Po’ipu, too!) as it was when it was first written back in the 1970’s."

Joe Kamanu Bird


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   The Hawaiian Tribute to Sublime - Livin's EZ
A warm and island-y tribute to the legendary California punk / ska band, produced (and mostly performed) by Jim "Kimo" West for the venerable roots label, CMH Records. This unique and very listenable CD features Kimo on slack key guitar, bass, 'ukulele and steel guitar with help from: Lee Ann Harris on percussion, the legendary Greg Leisz on steel guitar and Larry Antonino on the upright bass. These fabulously talented musicians have graced records by many hugely famous artists such as Beck, Fiona Apple, Matthew Sweet, k.d. lang, Joni Mitchell and Toni Childs. Mahalo, guys! Available at major retailers such as WalMart, Best Buy, etc, and directly from CMH Records.

Reviews:

"West brings the same imagination to the task of reworking Sublime's music that he did with the Eagles tribute album last summer. This one is a greater stretch, but he succeeds once again in taking melodies from an unlikely source and placing them in a Hawaiian context.

As with his Eagles album, this is beautiful background music in which the interplay between the various instruments merits attentive listening."

John Berger, Honolulu Star Bulletin

  "The Sublime Tribute is awesome! From the beautiful island of Long Beach, CA come some amazing melodic lines which the Hawaiian form really accentuates. That infectious Caribbean rhythm pulls you by the hand and says let's go see what's over here track after track. But, this is not your garden variety Jawaiian music. It's Jim "Kimo" West and friends and it's Sublime."


(Temporarily Out Of Print)

   The second CD from Jim West is a collection of pieces commissioned by the National Tropical Botanical Garden for the dedication ceremony of the new McBryde Garden on Hawaii's Garden Isle of Kauai. The music can be described as a hybrid of Hawaiian slack key guitar and other world influences and is thematically based on the history of this beautiful paradise. Two bonus cuts from "Coconut Hat" are also included.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden was, until recently headed by Dr.Paul Cox, a world reknowned ethnobotanist and author of the wonderful book, "Nafanua" which documents he and his family's experiences in American Samoa. His research on the use of native plants by Samoan healers has led to the discovery of some promising new pharmaceutical compounds and because of Dr.Cox's efforts, a large portion of American Samoa's most important rainforest has been saved forever from being decimated by logging.

One of the NTBG's important missions is saving Hawaii's endangered species from extinction. Hawaii has the largest number of threatened plant populations of anywhere in the U.S. We highly recommend visiting any of the NTBG gardens McBryde, Allerton and Limahuli on the island of Kauai, Kahanu Garden in Hana, Maui and The Kampong in South Florida.

McBryde (mp3, 241k)
Pump Six (mp3, 249k)
Allerton (mp3, 216k)
Dedication (mp3, 200k)