In 1985, after a long summer on tour playing guitar for a famous rock and roll touring act Jim West made his first trip to Hana, Maui and fell in love with cultural and physical landscape of Hawai’i, sometimes spending a couple months a year there. It was there that he also discovered “ki ho‘alu” or as it is more commonly called, “slack key” guitar, an old Hawaiian style of playing where the strings are
loosened or “slacked” to different tunings, allowing the bass, chords and melody to be played simultaneously. Playing strictly for fun and relaxation, he was soon accepted into the inner circle of the most famous slack key artists and was given the name, "Kimo", Hawaiian for "James".
Following his releases "Coconut Hat and "Slack Key West", "Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar-Kimo Style", is Kimo's third CD. A collection of original compositions and new slack key arrangements of classic Hawaiian songs, "Kimo-Style" conjures up a warm, tropical ambiance and is full of interesting guitar textures. Standout tracks include a beautiful arrangement of John Lennon's "Imagine and a virtuosic solo arrangement of the hapa-haole classic "Little Grass Shack". Kimo is also a recent recipient of a Hawaii
Music Award for his CD of slack key Christmas songs, “Kimo’s Hawaiian Slack key Christmas” and is a two time winner of the LA Treasures Award for his contributions toward keeping ki ho’alu alive.