By 2001, West had signed to Broken Bow Records, then a newly formed independent label, and his debut album, Livin' the Life, was released that year. West co-wrote ten of the album's thirteen tracks, while others — including "(This One's Gonna) Leave a Mark", previously recorded by John Michael Montgomery — were co-written by Randy Archer and Johnny Park, formerly of the duo Archer/Park. "Diddley", which peaked at No. 56 on the BillboardHot Country Singles & Tracks charts, was the album's lead single and West's only single to chart. "Diddley" was also made into a music video, which aired on CMT. Erik Hage of Allmusic gave the album four stars out of five, saying, "West has a big, husky baritone, a keen songwriting ability, a defiant attitude, and is a major country talent."