Jim “Kimo” West – Of Wood and Spirit (American Guitar Stories)

Jim "Kimo" West - Of Wood and Spirit



4.8/5 Pros

  • Beautiful writes
  • Lovely stories behind the songs
  • Nice range of instruments

A new album by Jim “Kimo” West is always a very special moment for me. The Grammy-winning artist is a master of instrumental music and composed some really beautiful records already. On 14th July 2023, he is adding Of Wood and Spirit to his discography. I had a listen.


Jim “Kimo” West – About the Artist

James West, typically known as Jim “Kimo” West is a Canadian guitarist. West was born on 18th December 1953 in Toronto, He is part of the Weird Al Yankovic band since the early 1980’s. Apart being part of Grammy-nominated and Grammy-winning productions in that role, he also won the Grammy Award with his solo album More Guitar Stories. In 2021, the album won the award for the Best New Age Album. Before the release of the album, I introduced you to Jim in an interview in my Spotlight section. In 2021, I also shared my thoughts about his latest album, Ka Honua Maluhia (Peaceful World).


Jim “Kimo” West – Of Wood and Spirit – Track by Track

The nine song album lasts 38 minutes.

1. Ghost Town Waltz

The opener Ghost Town Waltz takes you to a ghost town on the US-American West Coast – that’s at least what the notes to the songs of Of Wood and Spirit are stating. Te song is a slow, gentle song, in which the cello (Simone Vitucci) and the fiddle (Craig Eastman) add a typical wild west touch. Lovely listen.

2. One Sierra Morning

Highway 395 connects California with Nevada, Oregon and Washington State. This song is inspired by the road passing the Eastern Sierras, though. West lets you feel the gentleness of the morning, the awakening of a new day. The song is also praising the beautiful landscape you can explore on this road trip. It is also impressive how many different instrument the artist is using to create this beautiful sound. Apart from other musicians doing the percussion, bass, violin or cello, West himself plays four different guitars in this song only (acoustic, baritone, soprano, Moog guitar). The result is a beauty.

3. Under The Voodou

The third song is taking you to the very South of the United States, to New Orleans. Under The Voodou is thereby especially focusing on the traditional practice performance by many local Haitians there. Especially in the second half of the 5:19 minute long song, you feel the ease and the movements of their dances. Love it!

4. Wind in the Canyon

Wind in the Canyon starts with native flute and percurssion sounds. This leads to a very catching, fascinating, but also dramatic atmosphere. The song is inspired by an Apache folk take about a young moment falling in love with a flute player. Indeed, you can hear him playing his instruments – and you can even feel the Wind in the Canyon.

5. A Griot In Memphis

The album only features two songs which West recorded fully by himself, i.e. without the assistance of guest musicians. A Griot In Memphis is one of them. A key instrument of this song is indeed the six-string banjo. Lovely sound.

6. Circle of Friends

In the song notes, West states For me, there is absolutely nothing more satisfying than spending time with my good friends, especially when music is involved. The song Circle of Friends, is especially dedicated to his friend Dave Fees Bourne, a US-American music historian, who had organized some music jams with West in the past. Even though Bourne is not part of the lineup of that song, the instruments are closed to what they typically opted to use in these sessions. The sixth song of the album is a happy and cheerful listen, in which instruments like the dobro, the (chromatic) harmonica and the mandola create a very special sound.

7. Emryn’s Song

The song originally was an improvised song played at the birthday party of the young daughter of friends of Kimo. The daughter’s name is Emryn – and as West has been to late for the gig, he decided to play longer than expected. Unfortunately, he ran out of songs for his set list and finally played this one, Emryn’s Song. What a lovely way to have your day honored. Jim is touring Germany at my 45th birthday, by the way (see below) … 😉

8. When Water Dreams

Just reading the names of the nine songs of the album, I just love this one. I had to admit that I don’t know the saying it is based on, stating that snowflakes are patterns created when water dreams. Being majorly based in California and Hawaii, I definitely understand that West is intensively feeling the magic of snowfall – and regarding this song, he turned it into a truly magical listen.

9. A Love That Forgives

With 2:02 minutes, the closing track A Love That Forgives is the shortest one on the whole album. The song reminds of the 15th September 1963 Sunday School Bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. Despite the sad and dramatic topic, it is also a very gentle, peaceful and pleasing message, which West is giving with this song.


Jim “Kimo” West – Of Wood and Spirit – Spotify

Here is Of Wood and Spirit on Spotify:


Jim “Kimo” West – Of Wood and Spirit – My View

Jim “Kimo” West’s music is simply magical. His new album is prooving it again. He simply does not need lyrics to tell stories. These instrumentals are another beauty, full of atmosphere and with very fasciating stories behind. The album is another Top Pick! by him, of course.


Jim “Kimo” West at Nacht der Gitarren 2023

Kimo will present his music at the Nacht der Gitarren (“Night of the Guitars”) in October and November in and around Germany. Here are the tour dates. Some more details are found in a dedicated post about this event.

Fr 13.10.2023 Lahr – Parktheater
Sa 14.10.2023 Reutlingen – Kutlurzentrum franz.K Report
Su 15.10.2023 Koblenz – Cafe Hahn
Mo 16.10.2023 Kassel – Theaterstübchen
Tu 17.10.2023 Rüsselsheim – Theater
We 18.10.2023 Remchingen – Kulturhalle
Th 19.10.2023 Fulda – Kulturkeller
Fr 20.10.2023 Bad Neustadt (Saale) – Stadthalle
Su 22.10.2023 Bonn – Harmonie
Tu 24.10.2023 Steinegg (Italy) – Kulturhaus
We 25.10.2023 Augsburg (Germany) – Spectrum Club
Th 26.10.2023 Kufstein (Austria) – Kultur Quartier
Fr 27.10.2023 Hard – Kammgarn
Mo 30.10.2023 Bochum (Germany) – Christuskirche
We 01.11.2023 Wilhelmshaven – Pumpwerk
Th 02.11.2023 Celle – Halle 16
Fr 03.11.2023 Stadthagen – Alte Polizei
Sa 04.11.2023 Dresden – Ostra Studios
So 05.11.2023 Ingolstadt – eventhalle Westpark
Tu 07.11.2023 Jena – Volksbad
We 08.11.2023 Potsdam – Lindenpark
Th 09.11.2023 Hamburg – Laeiszhalle (small venue)
Fr 10.11.2023 Schwerin – Der Speicher
Sa 11.11.2023 Fehmarn – St. Johannis in Petersdorf
Su 12.11.2023 Flensburg – Kühlhaus
We 15.11.2023 Marburg – Kulturladen KfZ
Fr 17.11.2023 Hoofdorf (Netherlands) – Duckyer


Jim “Kimo” West on

Here are all my postings related to Jim “Kimo” West:


Postings with Tour Dates 2023

Here are postings released in 2023, which contain tour dates:

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