Gone West Shares the Story Behind ‘What Could’ve Been’

In less than two weeks, Gone West will release their long-awaited debut album, Canyons. The project features 13 tracks, all…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

June 1, 2020


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Gone West; Photo by Gregory Keith Metcalf

In less than two weeks, Gone West will release their long-awaited debut album, Canyons. The project features 13 tracks, all co-written by Gone West’s Colbie Caillat, Jason Reeves, Nelly Joy and Justin Kawika Young, and follows the release of the band’s EP Tides, which was released in early 2019.

Among the 13-song track list is “What Could’ve Been,” the group’s beloved debut single. As the album release date inches near, Gone West is sharing the exclusive story behind the song with Country Now readers. Read below as each member of the band recalls what went into writing the song with Jamie Kenney.

Nelly: We went into the write with no expectations since it was our first write all together with Jamie Kenney. In fact, Justin and Colbie had never even met him before! We had open hearts and minds to see what could organically happen and it’s safe to say we became fast friends within the first five minutes! The connection was immediate both on a human and musical level which eventually lead us to believe Jamie was the “missing piece” to the creation of our debut album.

Justin: We walked in and Jamie told us that he had been listening to our EP in the shower which is apparently a ritual of his before he goes into a writing session.

Nelly: Jamie had a melody and lyrics start to the chorus that we immediately loved. The song pieced together pretty quickly.

Colbie: We instantly fell in love with the song, and knew we wanted to work with Jamie on more songs for the album. The writing process for each song was so different, and we made several tweaks throughout the album, but we never changed “What Could’ve Been.” The song is so special to all of us, we all feel a little bit of magic when we sing it together.

Jason: I think the message of the song is something that everyone can relate to, and it just brings a sense of emotion and nostalgia to the song that can be rare to find.

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Gone West previously sat down with Country Now and recalled the moment they started singing together, admitting it was as if fate brought them together.

“It felt magical, and honestly, like we’d been singing together for years,” the group explained. “Each voice is so uniquely different when it’s by itself that you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to blend. But it’s quite the opposite. There’s times when we are singing that it blends to the point of sounding like one.”

Gone West’s debut album, Canyons, arrives everywhere on June 12.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.