The music of West of Next is inspired by roots music; music that expresses the lives of everyday people from communities in different regions. Blues from Missippi and later Chicago, zydeco, cajun, and jazz from Louisiana, lonesome ballads,string bands, later bluegrass from various parts of the Appalachians, honky tonk from southern urban centers,swing and western swing from the southwest, modern jazz and musical theater songs from New York City, surf music from the west coast, salsa, and so on. Using the basic rock instruments of two guitars, bass and drums, with some mandolin as well, the band plays original songs and instrumentals using familiar elements, but looking toward the future at the same time. This type of musical evolution is common. Celtic dance tunes and ballads evolved into string bands which evolved into bluegrass; incorporating gospel singing, jazz style improvisation and blues. Marching bands were the forerunner of early jazz which became swing and then be-bop. Carribean rhythyms and dances yielded salsa and latin jazz. Country and swing became western swing. Early rock and roll or rockabilly merged country and blues. Ray Charles put secular lyrics to gospel music and R & B was born. Bob Dylan took poetry and folk music and wrote new song types and later gave us folk rock. English musicians took the roots genres of the US and mixed with an English sensibility, new types of rock bands were created. Punk rock is certainly an expression of a particular community as is rap and hip-hop. West of Next is part of this tradition. The difference is that like the later Beatles or Radiohead, a variety of song types are played, rather than one genre.
Sonically the band uses the twin guitar tradition of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant and the Allman Brothers as part of their sound. The arrangements are surprising and sometimes with a hint of jazz harmony, but for the most part follow classic song form. Western Rock & Bop. Listeners have mentioned that aspects of West of Next are reminiscent of Richard Thompson (irony and celtic touches), Frank Zappa(humor and arrangment), Steely Dan(jazzy rock), and the Allman Brothers (guitars in harmony). West of Next's sound suggests a modern Ventures or Dick Dale vibe. The Ventures covered just about every type of song on twangy guitars. West of Next plays original compositions but the approach is similar. West of Next has just released their second album, SURF BOP STORIES.