Kim Arzate was a Spanish teacher who always wanted to be a country singer. In early 2015, she decided to follow this passion and form a band. At first, their style was too varied—country, pop, rock, etc. Also, she didn’t gel with the other members, except for guitarist Eric Bumgarner Widell. So the two of them reformed the group with new members as West of Nashville. Now it’s a strictly country-rock band.
“I was kind of placating some of the other people that were in the original lineup, thinking that’s what they really wanted to do, but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do,” Arzate says. “I got way more success with my band as soon as we got focused and started playing what we really wanted to play.”
The Santa Cruz music scene includes a lot of Americana, bluegrass, and country-punk bands, but what West of Nashville plays is something fairly unique around here: actual country music. The group has done really well in the South County so far, but are excited to play more gigs in Santa Cruz County, like this week’s show at the Crow’s Nest.
“We definitely have a niche that we’re filling, because there isn’t really anybody doing what we’re doing. So that’s been really great,” Arzate says. “There’s a little bit of, ‘hmm, we don’t know about country.’ We’re hoping to break that mold a little bit. Country’s really popular.”
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15. Crow’s Nest, 2218 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $5. 476-4560.