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Davis, California

Monday, June 24, 2024

Cowboys After Dark: A consistent staple of the Davis arts community

A sit down with three members of the local band


By SOFIA BOZZO — arts@theaggie.org


The music scene surrounding Davis is unassuming, yet incredibly prominent within a specific community. The people who are aware of the significance of the scene consider it one of the most impactful elements of their Davis experience. At the forefront of the Davis music scene is Cowboys After Dark, a name that often arises in conversations surrounding local music.

Cowboys After Dark is comprised of seven members: Mason Johnstone on drums, Paul Zhu on bass, Eric Aguilar on guitar, Henry Humphrey on the keyboards, Rosie Mendoza on trumpet and vocals, Jacob Johnson on saxophone and Bernadette Grace as their lead singer. All of the member’s talents combine to create a joyful, funky sound through the incorporation of alt-rock sentiment, and jazz undertones within their various brass instruments. Grace, Johnson and Humphrey shared their experience in the band as well as their experience at last winter quarter’s Couch Concert presented by The California Aggie’s Arts Desk.

In discussing their process of constructing a set list fit for something such as the Couch Concert, the three agreed on their hopes to take covers and add something distinctly personal to them. 

“We like to put brass sections in where they absolutely would not be seen in the original song,” Grace said. 

Cowboys After Dark is incredibly unique in its eclectic quality of sound and genre, a feature that also maintains resemblance in groups such as Earth, Wind & Fire and the English Beat. 

Moreover, the band focuses on highlighting the individual skillsets of the various members, many being trained musicians adept in their medium. This fascinating diversity of sound and skill has their fanbase remaining loyal and eager to hear more, a sentiment evident in the community conversation leading up to the Couch Concert. 

As a beloved staple of the Davis music scene, the band discussed their future and how they see themselves proceeding. The collective sentiment of the three members was fundamentally and profoundly steeped in gratitude.

“I think that for all of us, this band has been an amazing jumping off point for our future careers, hopefully within the music industry,” Grace said. 

Of course, they value the band as a “jumping off point” for their individual futures within the field, yet the significant message within each of their responses was widely community-based. 

“It is easy to undervalue the importance of music,” Johnson said. “We recognize that and hope to encourage support within the surrounding music community.” 

As artists, the three concur in the significance of sustaining the Davis arts culture through music, and the importance of seeking new outlets and experimenting in new mediums. 

Cowboys After Dark has undeniably become a staple of the Davis arts community and continues to set the precedent for what it means to perpetuate a thriving artistic environment.

The band’s mission statement, their urgency to perform and the community they have built with their fans instill a future for the arts community in Davis. Their commitment to the arts is unflinchingly hopeful. If you have the chance, enjoy their devotion and witness the true impact they have made in our community. You can check out their upcoming shows and content from previous ones on their Instagram


Written by: Sofia Bozzo — arts@theaggie.org


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