How The West Was Smooth – the 2017 Presentation

On November 13th, 2017, I presented a PowerPoint on the history of West Coast music called How The West Was Smooth. This was part of a Music Matters Appreciation Lecture Series sponsored by 103.3 Asheville FM. The amazing poster above was designed by an Asheville FM volunteer named Pia.

The video was initially posted on YouTube but has been offline for a while. So I uploaded it myself. You can access it via the link below:

How The West Was Smooth Presentation

Here is the press release which promoted the presentation:

Music Matters is a series of bimonthly appreciation lectures given by Asheville FM DJs, volunteers, and affiliates. Join us for the next presentation in this series, “How the West Was Smooth: The History of West Coast Music.” The West Coast sound is one of the most appreciated genres of music worldwide today. Artists such as Toto, Boz Scaggs, Fleetwood Mac, Ambrosia, Pablo Cruise, Bill LaBounty, and Steely Dan have influenced a new generation of NuCoast bands worldwide from Scandinavia, France, England, New Zealand, Brazil, and many other countries. From 6 – 8pm on Monday, November 13th, Erik Mattox, host of Asheville FM’s The WestCoast Breeze, will give you the lowdown on how the 60s folk and country rock scene in the Canyon transitioned into the smooth sounds of West Coast music of the late 70s and early 80s. 


Westcoast CCM

Since the dawn of Christian rock in the early 70s, CCM (contemporary Christian music) artists have been trying to figure out ways to cross over to the mainstream. TIn the late 70s and early 80s they figured the best way to do it was through the aqueduct of Westcoast smoothness. Outside of Chris Christian’s I Want You, I Need You in 1981none of them had much success, but they still created some funky grooves while spreading their love from above. Eventually after Amy Grant’s pop breakthrough in 1991, other artists, such as Michael W. Smith and Kathy Troccoli, followed her into the Top 40.

Here’s a montage of Westcoast CCM artists from 1978-1984.

West Coast from Around the World

Westcoast music was becoming so popular in the US in the mid to late 70s and its popularity spread as the music was exported around the globe to many other countries. Naturally musicians from those countries became influence by that sound and wanted to give their take on those smooth vibes.

Here’s a montage of West Coast music from outside of the US recorded in the 70s & 80s: