Road warriors visit Gabriola Island

Victoria folk-roots band West My Friend perform at the Gabriola Folk Club on April 25.

West My Friend perform at the Gabriola Folk Club

West My Friend perform at the Gabriola Folk Club

Its been a long road trip for folk-roots band West My Friend.

The Victoria-based quartet hit the road in early March and have spent the last six weeks playing to crowds in some of the most remote communities in Western Canada.

After playing in 23 different cities and towns in four provinces, West My Friend will roll onto Gabriola Island tomorrow for the second last performance of their When the Ink Dries CD release tour.

“We’ve come a long way,” vocalist Jeff Poynter said. “We went as far as Winnipeg and Flin Flon in Northern Manitoba.”

Poynter, along with fellow bandmates, Adam Bailey, Eden Oliver, and Alex Rempel have logged nearly 8,000 kilometres on the tour so far and found themselves opening for funny band, The Arrogant Worms in Calgary last month.

“It was awesome. It was a full-boat show,” Poynter said. “They’re still funny. I don’t know why we were opening for them because we are not funny, at least our songs aren’t. We do like to joke around and stuff but our music is generally more serious than theirs is. I’ve been a fan of them since I was in elementary school.”

West My Friend was formed in 2009 at the Cornerstone Café in Victoria. Their name was inspired by the 2008 Michael McGowan film, One Week.

“The main character discovers he has cancer and so like any good Canadian he goes to Tim Hortons and he rolls up the rim and it says ‘go west young man’, and that’s kind of the rest of the movie. Just him traveling west [from Toronto] and going to Tofino. We just kind of ran with that idea and so we figured we’re pretty much as far west as you can get, except for Tofino,” Poynter said. “So it just kind of grew out of that.”

Their latest album, When the Ink Dries, which was released on March 6, is the follow up album to West My Friend’s award winning 2011 full-length album, Place.

“It’s a big range,” Poytner said about the new full-length record. “We’ve got songs with just the four of us, like you’d hear live and there is everything up to a 27-piece orchestra in a seven in a half minute epic about cats. We added a brass section on a few other tunes, which was a new thing for us. That was really excited.”

West My Friend teamed up with Grammy Award-winning producer Joey Baker and Juno Award-winner David Travers-Smith to help create When the Ink Dries. The band focused heavily on arrangements and listeners should hear a more mature West My Friend sound, according to Poynter.

“We took more time to work on arrangements and really get everything nailed down before we went into the studio,” Poytner said. “I think we’ve solidified more as a group and maybe have more direction in where we want to our sound to be. I would say this one is more dramatic because we have things like the orchestra. I think the style of our songs have become more dramatic as well and I think the writing has gotten stronger as well.”

Even though the When the Ink Dries tour concludes on May 3 in Victoria, West My Friend are already looking ahead to playing at the a handful of festivals this coming summer.

“We’ve got three this summer [Vancouver Island Music Festival, Oak Harbor Festival and Harmony Arts Festival]. We really love playing festivals. They are always a lot of fun because you get to play for a big audience that is excited to hear you play and then you get to spend the rest of the weekend hanging out and listening to music and meeting musicians,” Poytner said.

When it comes to organizing tours, Poynter, along with the rest of the band, like to do research ahead of time and find out which venues are worthwhile.

“It is just knowing everything that is out there and being selective in knowing which ones will pay your gas. We often try to play at a venue that will give us a place to stay because that’s a huge expense to pay a couple of hundred bucks to stay at a hotel every night,” Poynter said. “We try to have a route that makes the most sense. I’ve toured with other bands in the past, where if you looked at a map the tour route makes no sense and there is lots of backtracking. So it’s just making the route that has the least amount of driving.”West My Friend perform at the Gabriola Folk Club, 240 Davis Rd. on Friday (April 25) at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please visit

Just Posted

Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes are off to a fast start this season after no competition last season due to the pandemic. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo athletes back on track, starting with club competitions

Nanaimo Track and Field Club registration filled up

A conceptual rendering of a commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith image)
Commercial plaza in north end of Ladysmith passes public hearing

Councillors debate proposed land use at 1130 Rocky Creek Rd.

The Nanaimo sign at Maffeo Sutton Park could be hazardous for children, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo sign will cause falls

Children can’t resist climbing on sign, says letter writer

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Most Read