Bob Westfall has been performing, recording,producing, and writing songs for 30 years and has had The Bob Westfall Quartet together for over fifteen years. Talk about a band that can switch gears.The Bob Westfall Band was the Winner for "Unique Artist",and, "Jazz Album of The Year" at(MAMA)The Madison Area Music Awards for 2007.Westfall was also nominated for "Instrumentalist of the Year". Westfall plays Guitar, Mandolin,Vocals. Chris Wagoner on Violin, Lap Steel, Vocals,and Accordion. Mary Gaines on Bass,Guitar,and Vocals,and Tom Ellis on Percussion. This is the regular band but we also do a just strings thing trading out the percussionist for a Rhythm guitarist, Micah Olsan. Whatever we are doing we are always striving to push the musical envelope and have a damn good time doing it! Bon' Appetite!
We've got a hot new CD" just out "Beautifully Mad " which is getting rave reviews from fans and critics alike. An instrumental disc with our old band mate Chandler Fritz holding down the guitar duties so Bob can just play mandolin. Chris and Mary really shine on this one and, Bob and Chris do a beautiful job on McCartney's "Eleanor Rigby". It's a Jazz-Grass-Latin-Swing thing.
Bob Westfall's lilting jazz-grass original "Coastin" isn't quite as easy going as the title suggests, which helps it stand out on his eponymous instrumental quartet's accomplished new album "Beautifully Mad".
The local mandolin player and his veteran compatriots in The Bob Westfall Quartet never put a wrong note on the cover tunes that fill up roughly two thirds of the disc, and that polite approach certainly has it's merits. But on
" Coastin' ," you can hear the tires squeal a little as Westfall roughs up his narrow fret board with bluesy bent notes and bass player Mary Gaines displays her jazz background on a crafty, lyrical solo that's as fluid as a well-sorted set of Brembos.
Night Sights & Sounds (Madison, WI)
Bob Westfall's compositions show a breadth and depth of vision all too rare in these commercial times. --AP Durkee
The Isthmus (Madison, WI)
Part jazzer, part folkie, part "newgrass" picker, Madison's Bob Westfall is anything but a typical cheesehead singer-songwriter. Where many of his peers fiddle about with down-on-the-farm humor and familiar folk-rock progressions, Westfall has set his sights squarely on the adult acoustic market. His tunes about love, regret and life-altering reflection are warm enough for mature romantics, and his musicianship allows him to tweak the hook-obsessed consciousness of Triple A programmers...influences of Lyle Lovett and Bruce Cockburn.
Knight Ridder Newspapers
As long as the evolution of acoustic folk music is in the hands of people like Bob Westfall, it should enjoy a smooth and steady rise in popularity.
--James M. Tarbox
Itasca Arts Association
Bob makes his audiences feel like they are involved in a conversation, instead of just being talked to. Absolutely wonderful.
--Sally Becker, Itasca Arts Association, MN
Milwaukee Shepherd Express
Although Westfall may be difficult to categorize, he is not difficult to appreciate.
Bob Westfall's folk-pop is invariably heartfelt and hooky. His "Lover's Dance" is one of the most likable local albums in recent memory, so the release of his new "In a Heartbeat" CD is an event worth celebrating.
Arthur (A.P.) Durkee
Bob Westfall's compositions are poised and developed; his topics are love and dreams, yearning and freedom. There's an openness to his music, a sense of wide spaces and free expanses that make me think of driving across the eastern Oregon deserts.
Bob Westfall -- "In a Heartbeat"
Bob Westfall -- "Lover's Dance"(1994)
Bob Westfall -- "The Third Coast" (1984)
The Bob Westfall Band calls Madison, Wisconsin home and is made up of veteran musicians who have toured, recorded, or shared the stage with groups such as: Garbage, The Smashing Pumpkings, U2, Leo Kottke, John Hartford, Asleep at the Wheel, Willy Porter, String Cheese Incident, and Lyle Lovett, to name just a few. Playing original music with hints of David Grisman, John Hiatt, Guy Clark, and the Grateful Dead co-exist with shades of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Joao Gilberto, and other great jazz and latin composers.
Bob Westfall (guitar, mandolin, vocals, songwriting) has studied and worked with some of the top acoustic players in the country--Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, John Hartford, and Alex DeGrassi. But, while these influences are certainly evident, Westfall's songwriting and lyrics are uniquely his own. An award-winning mandolinist, Bob grew up in Texas and Minnesota, and his style incorporates the best elements of storytelling with a hybrid jazz/pop/worldbeat/bluegrass feel.
The husband and wife team of Mary Gaines (bass) and Chris Wagoner (violin) provide the bottom and top of the BWB sound, and have appeared in performance and on recordings with Westfall for over fifteen years. Gaines and Wagoner have similarly diverse backgrounds--formal classical training at the Univ of WI, jazz studies with the great bassist, Richard Davis, followed by years of performing and recording with jazz, blues, rock, and folk artists and songwriters.
Tom Ellis (latin percussion kit) rounds out the groove of the BWB with his flair for latin feels, and extensive background in jazz and rock. Ellis has been a midwest touring musician for almost three decades with The Dave Kinney Group, Little Vito and the Torpedoes, and Luck of the Draw. He has also been performing with Gaines and Wagoner for the past four years in the Madison-based roots-rock/Americana group, The Moon Gypsies.
Together, The Bob Westfall Band creates a style of music that defies a single description yet connects with the listener on many levels. Besides the BWB's every Tuesday night (for the last 8 years)gig at the Angelic Brewing Co. in Madison(it's always Standing Room Only) the band is also a favorite for Concerts, Colleges, and Festivals.
"This ain't your Daddy's Jam Band !"