Jim West (guitarist)

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Jim West
Jim West by Kyle Cassidy.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJames West
Born (1953-12-18) December 18, 1953 (age 65)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
GenresRock, slack-key guitar
Occupation(s)Guitarist, composer, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, vocals
Years active1979-present
LabelsWesternmost Records, Scotti Brothers Records, Volcano Records, Placebo
Associated acts"Weird Al" Yankovic

James West (born December 18, 1953), also known as Kimo West, is a Canadian guitarist, best known for working with "Weird Al" Yankovic.[1] He auditioned for Yankovic after being introduced by Steve Jay and the two have worked together ever since. West can be heard and seen on all of Yankovic's videos, albums, and concerts since 1984.

West is also a composer for film and television and produced a number of CDs for independent artists. He has released seven solo slack-key guitar albums. He performs regularly at concerts and festivals.

Early life[edit]

West was born in Toronto, Ontario on December 18, 1953. He grew up in Tampa, Florida.


West performing guitar for "Yoda" in traditional Jedi robes on March 10, 2007

At age 12, West started playing guitar.[2] By age 16, he was playing professionally in various Florida rock bands, including at least one with Steve Jay.

In the early 1980s, he came to Los Angeles, where Jay introduced him to "Weird Al" Yankovic.

Currently, West resides in the Los Angeles area, but spends several months a year in Hawaii. He retains his Canadian citizenship.

In 2018, he received his first Grammy nomination for Moku Maluhia: Peaceful Island in the category of Best New Age Album.[3]


With "Weird Al" Yankovic[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • 1999 - Coconut Hat
  • 2004 - Nurturing the Garden - commission for the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua'i
  • 2005 - Slack Key West
  • 2006 - The Hawaiian Tribute To Sublime: Livin's EZ
  • 2007 - Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar-Kimo Style
  • 2007 - Hotel Honolulu - The Hawaiian Tribute to the Eagles
  • 2008 - Kimo's Hawaiian Slack Key Christmas
  • 2012 - Na Lani O Maui: Maui Skies
  • 2013 - Ki Ho'alu Christmastime
  • 2015 - Guitar Stories: Slack Key & Beyond
  • 2017 - Slackers In Paradise ( with Ken Emerson )
  • 2018 - Moku Maluhia: Peaceful Island


  • "Eia Mai Ka La" by Kapo Ku
  • Lily Wilson by Lily Wilson
  • Jose Can U See? by Bill Dana
  • The Enchanted Forest
  • Broken by Cynthia Clawson
  • The Koolanesian Heart by Norm Compton
  • Stepping Out by Diana Krall


  • The Rocky Story

Awards and nominations[edit]

Grammy Awards

Year Category Work Result
2019 Grammy Award for Best New Age Album Moku Maluhia: Peaceful Island Nominated


  1. ^ "Working with "Weird Al" Yankovic". iZotope.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2001-02-08. Retrieved 2012-08-20.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2019-grammy-awards-complete-nominations-list#9

External links[edit]