Jim Lewin’s latest band, Edge of the West, is an eclectic group. Their influences include Americana, bluegrass, jazz, reggae, and the psychedelic folk-rock sound from ’60s Haight-Ashbury. At the center of it all is country music, but not the kind of country music most people think of.
“It’s not really a cowboy band at all. It synthesizes a lot of influences,” says guitarist/vocalist Lewin. “I’m interested in the intersection of tradition and the future.”
The band’s name is intended to show this relationship between old, well-defined American musical genres like old-timey bluegrass and new musical territory. Lewin hopes Edge of the West will give people a sense of the great Wild West and classic Western roots music, but also the progressiveness of California.
“There’s always kind of a tradition of reinvention on the West Coast, taking old things and giving it a new twist,” Lewin says. “That’s what I see as California’s contributions to the ongoing evolution of popular music.”
Edge of the West played their first show a couple of months back. Before that, Lewin played for a few years as the Jim Lewin Band with some of the same people, but decided he wanted something more than a solo project.
“I wanted a more imaginative title. I wanted to create a world with my music, and not so much via my identity personally,” he says. “I like bands that create a world.”
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 9. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. $9/adv, $12/door. 479-1854.