Episode 132: Johnzo West
Air date: 4.15.2015
Musician Johnzo West once spent a summer on a movie shoot in Detroit, Michigan after being hired to teach an actor how to play guitar - or at least how to fake it convincingly enough on screen. Like music, making movies is a hurry-up-and-wait affair with a goodly amount of downtime, and West found himself palling around with the young actress and musician Miley Cyrus, who was trying her hand on the big screen after the phenomenal success of Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. Between takes, the pair would sing classic country songs and West was immediately impressed with the Cyrus’ natural country singing talent - which was different from the pop persona that made her a megastar. Those downtime collaborations led to West accompanying Cyrus on a cover of Bob Dylan’s classic song, “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” that was featured on the album, Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International. The single and the round of television appearances that followed raised West’s profile, but he had been making music long before he paired up with his famous friend. Since his move west to California from his native Indiana, West has released a pair of albums along with a brand new EP called The Cause and the Cure in February of 2015. Whether stripped down and acoustic or fully fleshed out, West’s music is reminiscent of the sepia-toned glory days of California’s Laurel Canyon sound.