Gone West: Colbie Caillat's Couples-Only Band Is Capitalizing on Heartbreak and Harmonies (Exclusive)

Plus, the singer offers an update on her (lack of) wedding plans after a four-year engagement.

There's a recurring theme in Colbie Caillat's new music: heartbreak. 

Yes, the 33-year-old "Bubbly" singer is still happily engaged to Hawaiian singer-songwriter Justin Young. In fact, the couple has teamed up with their longtime pals, married couple Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy, on a new harmony-focused country band. Gone West released their debut EP, Tides, earlier this year, led by the celebratory breakup single, "Confetti." 

"We are all happy and in love, so there's nothing here," Joy tells ET in a sit-down interview during the group's recent visit to Los Angeles, where they played the iconic Troubadour. Joy hints "there's a lot more heartbreak to come" when Gone West releases their full-length album. 

"It's more that we've all experienced it at some point in our lives and we have friends who are going through that," she explains. "We're inspired by their stories and try to pull from that. Oddly enough, you have two couples in love writing heartbreak songs." 

"It's so relatable to everyone," Caillat echoes. 

"It feels so much better to sing sad songs, even if you're happy," Reeves chimes in. "There's just something about that emotion that really gets to you because we've all been heartbroken before and we've all been sad." 

Gone West's story, however, is a lovely one: Caillat and Reeves began writing songs together in 2005 for her debut album, Coco, and have remained close ever since. Her now-fiance, Young, joined her band in 2007 and they began dating two years later. Meanwhile, Reeves met Joy, an ACM Award-nominated songwriter, in a 2009 writing session. They've been married now for seven years. 

In 2017, the group became neighbors of sorts, when Caillat and Young relocated to Nashville full-time. 

"We've been working together in all different formations for the past 14 years, but two and a half years ago we did a tour for my album, The Malibu Sessions," Caillat says. "It was an acoustic, harmony-driven tour and we had so much fun that when we all got back to Nashville, we figured we'd just make a writing session appointment and actually write for our band. We loved the song we came up with, so we kept going." 

Signing with Triple Tigers Records to release their EP and debut single, Gone West is now focused on performing and finishing up their album. All four members share writing credits on every song, sometimes with a fifth writer included in the mix. 

"We really want it to be collaborative," Young says. "The cool thing about this project is the songs and the production would not be what it is without the four of us, because we all have different tastes and when we all agree on something, that usually means it's pretty good." 

What's not on the priority list these days: planning a wedding. After becoming engaged in 2015, Caillat and Young have no immediate interest in walking down the aisle to exchange vows. 

"We're kinda like Oprah and Stedman in that way," Young jokes, while Caillat says they're "lazy" and would prefer to avoid the formality of a ceremony.

"We don't want a wedding," she explains. "We do want to spontaneously elope, but we're always busy and traveling, so it just hasn't happened yet. ... We don't need it to change anything, but we'll absolutely do it when it feels like the moment to." 

See the band's full interview in the player above and keep an eye out for their next single, "What Could've Been," to be released on June 7. 



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