COUNTRY WESTERNS is something of a supergroup, featuring members from a number of local indie rock notables including Bully. They haven’t been around for very long, but they’ve already established their own sound and won over audiences throughout the Southeast.
Founded by Joey Plunket and Brian Kotzur, the band - also featuring bandmates Reece Lazarus and Sabrina Rush - is bringing their show to Savannah for a gig at El Rocko Lounge on March 15.
“Me and Brian Kotzur started it together,” Plunket tells Connect. “He played in tons of bands around town, but he was playing only in a Grateful Dead cover band for a while. He told me at the bar one night that his wife said he wasn’t allowed to do that anymore and that he had to start a cool band.”
The cool band begun soon after, with Kotzur and Plunket teaming up to write songs and try to put something together.
“We’ve probably been playing out for a year-and-a-half or two years. We started the idea maybe about three years ago, but the first year was just me and Brian hanging out in his garage,” Plunket says.
Though the pair shared similar musical tastes, Plunket says it was their personalities that made them feel a musical connection.
“We definitely have a lot of influences in common, but I think it was more of a personality thing. We’re not totally into just the same music. I think we just got along. We’re a pretty young band for what middle-aged people we are,” he says with a laugh.
Lazarus was originally the band’s bass player, but moved to saxophone more recently. Lazarus came from Nashville buzz band Bully, and Rush - who took over bass duties for Lazarus - joined following a stint with Louisville band State Champions.
“We’re just really excited to get to work and to get to travel now. We’ve got a good lineup, and we’re having fun playing,” Plunket says.
“We really wanted to just have a real band. I love living in Nashville, but it’s a lot of people who do studio work or play with singer/songwriters. We just wanted to have more of a gang mentality and just be a goofy band together.”
Though Plunket is the primary songwriter, the creative process is pretty open and collaborative - something that the band will continue to explore following its upcoming run that brings them through Savannah.
“We only have the two singles out now. We’re kind of trying to stick with that format, but we’ve got a couple more in the can. We’re hopefully going to record in New York soon, and might do some in Atlanta,” he says.
“We love it here and we have good lives here in Nashville, but the only reason we play music is so that we can get out of town, go see other places, and meet other people.”
As for starting a band in Nashville, Plunket says it’s not necessarily the best atmosphere for an upstart in his musical wheelhouse - though it’s been a good experience in terms of being able to network and put themselves in the scene industry-wise.
“It’s a good place to play music if you really put yourself in the mix and get a lot of work playing music. But that’s not really our mentality. Not because we’re against it, but just because we’re lazy,” he says.
“It’s a great town, but there are just different approaches to how people want to do music here. All of them are valid, and we’re not out to prove anyone wrong. We just do our thing.”