Love Your Local Band: West Coast Soul

West Coast SoulWhen local singer James Murphy was a kid, he got his musical educations from his dad’s backyard barbeques, which featured musician buddies playing blues, jazz and soul.

“I’d sit in and play a little piano, and steal the mic every chance I got,” Murphy recalls.

It’s no wonder then that years later, when a member of Murphy’s church heard him sing and asked if he could get a band together to play the Paradise Beach Grille, he looked no further than his dad for his backup band.

“That was my portal to good musicians put together and assembled. We work together and we’ve been playing music together a long time. It was an easy decision,” Murphy says.

Murphy has been playing with his dad and various other buddies from his dad’s network for five years now, as West Coast Soul. The current lineup includes Fenton Murray (James’ dad) on keys, Doug Silveira on guitar, Bill Bosch on bass and Olaf Schiappacasse on drums. Their original drummer, Jimmy Baum, passed away in 2010. The group plays some originals, along with a healthy number of soul covers.

“We’re not playing them exactly like the records. They’re pretty much appropriated to the kind of players that we have and kind of what comes natural to us,” Murphy says. “We definitely try to broadcast the Marvin Gaye and the Al Green stuff. We hit that pretty hard. We also do some obscure blues tunes and a little bit of New Orleans stuff, too.”

INFO: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9. Crow’s Nest, 2218 E Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. $3. 476-4560.

Contributor at Good Times |

Aaron is a hard-working freelance writer with a focus on music, art, food, culture and travel. In addition to Good Times, he's a regular contributor to Sacramento News & Review, VIA Magazine and Playboy. When he's not working, he's either backpacking, arguing about music or working on his book about ska. One thing's for sure—he knows more about ska than you.

To Top