PRESS '...a strong, full voice -- part Janis Joplin, part Lucinda Williams, part West's own style.' - Matthew Smith, Ft. Worth Weekly 'Her eclectic music has been described as an American mixture of country, folk and blues with a good measure of rock thrown in.' - Shirley Jinkins, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram 'Her backup guitarist, Glenn Milam, had already departed the other evening when West played an impromptu solo set while the bartender was stacking chairs onto tables. She sang of wild youth, (Hank and Joleen) homestead roots (This Old Place) and various kinds of hard times (Pray for Rain). Her guitar took such a pounding that West had to retune it every other number.' - Perry Stewart, Fort Worth Star Telegram 'Personal Root music and lyrics delivered with passion...' - Tom Geddie, Buddy Magazine, Dallas '...hard drivin', up front acoustic guitar and great lyrics...' - John Walker, Proprietor: MacHenry's, Fort Worth BIO When she was a kid her great granny used to sing her old folk songs like "Down in the Valley" and "Molly Malone." West thought she was making them up and was impressed with her grandmother's abilities as a 'songwriter.' "So I used to go out to the sandbox and just make up songs about, you know, whatever 4 years old think about. By the time I was in grade school I was in love with the radio and knew the words to every song the DJ's played," West said. Around the age of 12, she started playing her dad's guitar and really writing songs. She went on to work as a singer in just about every genre of music: country, folk, blues, rock, metal, punk, and industrial. This wide range of styles shows up in the songs she writes, and in her singing, which the Fort Worth Weekly recently described as "going from a plaintive cry to earth-shattering wail." René was born in Wichita, Kansas, but she had a sense of adventure and didn't stay long. As a teenager she was always in trouble, and had a penchant for hitchhiking. By 16 she was out on her own, without skills, and working whatever odd job life sent her way: chipping bricks, building camp stoves, waiting tables, tuning pianos, and staring at microbes. Needless to say this gave her plenty of stuff to "make up songs about," and she did. In the early 80's she moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and it was around that time that she copyrighted her first songs. She also continued putting bands together and playing clubs. The biggest show she ever played was with a band called the Grey Area. "We opened for the Dead Kennedys in 1985, at the Circle A Ranch in Dallas, Texas. Boy, were those some wild times." Post-punk West decided to study art. She graduated summa cum laude with a BFA, and then went on to earn her MFA. She is currently a Senior Lecturer and teaches photography and digital imaging. West refers to her images as visual poems, and has exhibited at numerous galleries throughout the United States. When asked about working in more than one discipline, she says, 'regardless of the medium I consider myself a storyteller: working with words, music, and art just offers more possibilities for communication.' 'After college, in 1998, I decided to take my music back to it's most basic form - guitar and voice - and to focus on the songwriting,' West said. 'Since then, I have challenged myself to write songs that cover a wide range of topics and styles of music.' Her first CD, Southbound, illustrates her diversity. She draws from her vast experiences to create the characters in her songs. When she writes about hard luck ("Spilled Coffee"), you know she's been there. Or when she sings about a dysfunctional relationship ("You're So Good at Losing") her voice breaks with pain. And when she falls in love ("Dwight") she's not afraid to share the intimacy, or the rattled feeling caused by first kisses ("Just One Kiss"). The backdrop for all her songs is the American landscape and some of her best are when she's off on a road trip across "this great big land" ("Graceland" and "Southbound"). 'When people ask what style my music is I always have a hard time answering," West said. "For me it is a blending of all these influences, and it does not fit neatly into any particular category. I would like to say my style is American, and by that I mean influenced by many aspects of American music. Anyway, it is just me and my guitar again, playing little songs I make up in the backyard, just like I've been doing my whole life.' West was a semi-finalist in the BW Stevenson Songwriting Competition 2006, and was voted Best Female Vocalist in the 2002 Fort Worth Weekly Music Awards. She has performed live on KTCU- FM, 88.7, KNON, 89.3, and on the Humble Time Radio Show. She has also been a featured performer several times for the Fort Worth Songwriter's Association, and has participated in several showcases put on by the Texas based organization Girls n Guitars. She plays various clubs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.