“Modern West really got its start when my wife Christine encouraged me to reconnect musically with John Coinman,” says actor/director Kevin Costner, who is in the Charleston area this month working on a thriller titled The New Daughter. “I wasn’t really sure after all these years how it might work.”

Apparently, things are going mighty fine for his side project, Modern West. The band goes back over 20 years when Kevin met actor/musician Coinman in L.A. during an acting workshop.

“We met in an acting environment and formed our own informal group,” Costner says. “Out of that group came Michael Blake, a producing partner of mine; John Doe of the band X; and John Coinman, who started making music with me. With John, it was kinda the first and only band I’ve ever been in.

“When I wanted to try to do music again, I wasn’t sure where I wanted it to go, but I knew I wanted to re-enter,” he adds.

Based in Tucson, Coinman drove to Costner’s pad in Southern California to brainstorm on song ideas. Bassist Blair Forward came into the mix. Things clicked and Modern West began to take shape. Forward joined in and Coinman helped recruit the combo — drummer Larry Cobb, guitarist Teddy Morgan, fiddler Bobby Yang, and guitarist Park Chisolm. Most of them jammed previously in the Tucson outfit Roving Boys.

“It’s a very collaborative effort,” says Costner. “These guys are multi-talented and fronted their own bands at one point. It’s very open.”

Modern West came together about the time Costner was filming the forthcoming political comedy Swing Vote.

“It’s a broad mix of styles,” Costner says of the band’s original music. “The songs have a country story behind them, but we’re not necessarily country.” —T. Ballard Lesemann

Kevin Costner & Modern West headline at the Music Farm on Sat. March 29. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are available for $40 ($30 adv.). See www.myspace.com/kevincostnerandmodernwest for more.

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