Coyote Run Rocked Kimball Theater
Coyote Run returned for another electrifying round of Celtic rock in the elegant Kimball Theatre on Merchants Square in Williamsburg, VA on Friday, July 15, 2011. They released their new CD, 10 ½ at the concert. An enthusiastic crowd welcomed their new tracks and sang along to old favorites like Oak and Ash and Thorn.
Their unique sound is tribal and rhythmic, yet their imaginative arrangements and tight harmonies seem to unfold organically. With several multi-instrumentalist band members, they blended diverse sounds into a fresh, hard-driving, Celtic spirit. Last summer’s show proved their power and versatility. This show revealed a more focused style, coupled with showmanship that was at times majestically dramatic, then effervescent and playful. Guest performers Elizabeth and Miranda Wiley’s efforts contributed to this wide range of emotions. Elizabeth’s dramatic styling of the story of a condemned “witch” was a riveting moment. Later, Miranda’s graceful and free-sprited Papillon dance lifted the audience’s hearts into the realm of butterflies and carefree Spring days.
Front man David Doersch was impressive as always with his rich vocals and electronic bagpipes. Chelle Fulk’s expressive violin more than held its own against Michael Kazalski’s agressive bass lines and Craig Olson’s spirited guitar. Cathy Hauke’s perpetual percussion engine kept the music machine running in top form.
This warm group of musical friends was generous and wise to share their stage with a variety of crowd-pleasing guests performers, including an Irish dancer, a trio of swing dancers, a men’s octet for backup, and even a small contingency of Colonial Williamsburg’s Fife & Drum corp!
As diverse as the individual numbers were, they were unified by the band’s signature style. They’ve found their niche in honoring Celtic traditions and integrating the rhythms and sounds of other ancient cultures. They’re inspired by these ancient forms without being imprisoned by them, infusing age-old truths with relevance for today’s thoughtful audiences.
The Coyotes’ travel schedule is taking them around the country before they head to Wales, but you can look forward to another Williamsburg visit on Thanksgiving Weekend.
Coyote Run's 10-Year Retrospective
If your concept of Celtic music is dulcet soprano tones on PBS, then brace yourself. Get ready for your hair to blow back and your blood to pulse when these warrior poets start to rock. Thoughtful storytelling is always key to their brand of muscular, fresh folk rock honoring Celtic traditions and infused with Native American, Civil War, and Aboriginal strains. Storytelling reached a new level with anecdotes shared by previous band members at this fun reunion. The almost full house brimmed with warm affection from followers who recognize the depth and breadth of talent that has led to Coyote Run’s national and international success.
Be sure to visit www.coyoterun.com for more info on the band’s fascinating history and watch their videos (especially Whalesong and Oak and Ash and Thorn).
You’ll be amazed, as was I, at the versatility of the vocalists and musicians. First, there’s lead vocalist David Doersch, who also played the accordion and trombone. Yes, I said “trombone.” Part of the joy of this retrospective was seeing the many styles brought to the band by each new member over the years. The group’s evolution took a side trip through New Orleans jazz and blues. I suspect there’s no style of music this talented group could not play; it’s Celtic Rock where they’ve found their bliss. David’s vocals are clear, expressive, and potent.
All of the band members contributed strong vocals and striking harmonies, but the variety of instrumentation really caught my attention. Imagine my surprise when Doug Bischoff, who modestly told me he “played pipes” for Coyote Run, switched to the didgeridoo, guitar, drums, tambourine, and yes, trombone! I know from conversation with him on a sound engineering project that he also plays keyboard, so what’s left? Amazing.
Drummer Cathy Hauke’s complex polyrhythms were incredibly powerful, yet also subtly nuanced, the sign of an artist’s spirit at work. Her vocals should not be understated. One of the most magical moments of the show was the a capella interlude in Whalesong.
It was bass guitarist Michael Kazalski who transitioned the band from acoustic to electric. Until now, I never knew the bass line could evoke so much emotion. Thanks for helping me to hear with new ears, Michael!
Paul Anderson’s lyrical fiddling made several tunes soar. David Doersch says that Paul “is a gifted player who idiomatically steps in and enhances any song of any style.”
When asked his favorite part of the concert, David replied “it’s a one-time thing, a wonderful chance to see old Coyotes together again.” The band is looking forward to touring Scotland for the second time in September, where 80 of their fans will join them. Next year it’s on to Wales.
Locals can look forward to seeing the Coyotes back at the Kimball Theater for their annual Thanksgiving weekend show.
Release Review: "A Kilted Christmas"
Coyote Run runs quite a musical breadth and length and brings it all together in an entertaining whole. Between the sets of young Irish step dancers and commentator Elizabeth Wiley bringing the hometown American Celtic touch to the proceedings-speaking about what people are doing for that holiday, are original instrumentals and vocals adapted on to traditional ("Somerset Wassail", "Gower Wassail", "Coventry Carol", "Huron Carol") works from different nations. "Drummer Boy" being one interesting work here,as is the "Christmas In The Trenches"/"Silent Night." There is "Wintry Queen" for those who celebrate the solstice-harking back to ancient lore.
No matter your first love in Celtic music,even if the strictly traditional, this is a very nice DVD to have this time of year.
Release Review: "Between Wick and Flame"
When I heard them last at Celebration of Celts though I enjoyed them I thought that Coyote Run might be losing their center-getting outside of what they do best. This new CD has allayed my concerns.This is the old Coyote Run, but at a new level, better. Coyote Run is great on a couple of levels, instrumentally and vocally, but they also give insights to literature, time and place, and history that often are forgotten today mainly because of the dumbing down in education. "La Pucelle" is magnificent with it's vocals and chorus, but it also serves to make those in their audience ask "Who is Joan Of Arc."
The first cut "Finnean's Dance" is a great rollicking rant in the otherworld. True to Coyote Run there is an emphasis on the Pagan. And on a repertoire that could be used in a Joseph Campbell lecture. This includes "Wintry Queen" and a splendid "Tam Lin" where story telling and music are wonderfully intertwined and where the chorus as in "La Pucelle" is put to maximum effect.
One strong cut and a most impressive modern rendition of a traditional standard is "Matty Groves" where the instrumentals give a wonderfully sinister cast to the story of what happens to he who makes time with the wife of the "merciless MacDonwald of The Western Isles." This I nominate as one of my favorites, not only from Coyote Run, but from the field of Celtic music today.
"Queen Of Argyll" which I last heard Coyote Run perform live, is a rockin' but legible straight up performance here as well.
"In The Service of The Crown" is a trio of which "We Be Soldiers Three" originally a French tune is great poetry and irony combined with "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye"-gaiety dancing with the Enkou, and "Falcon's Mouth" is a powerful picture of yearning for home in the midst of the terror of war.
"The Tiger" is another venture into education. I remember in school reading this William Blake work. Perhaps Coyote Run's grand rendition of this poem will move somebody to read or reread Blake.
"Whalesong" is a melding of the modern song of the extinction of the species with a forwarding chorus of the ghosts of the whalers singing "Rolling Down To Old Maui." Another collage is the joining of "Health To The Company" with Andy M. Stewart's "Blackbird." Both of these are haunting.
Coyote Run makes you listen and makes you think. In the current climate that is a very, very good thing. And I am very happy to see that they haven't lost their vision!
Celtic rock band howls to its own beat
The name Coyote Run doesn't exactly sound like the name of a Celtic rock band.
"It speaks more to my personal journey more than it does to the content of the music," says Coyote Run founder David Doersch. "The coyote is the trickster spirit in Native American spirituality. He's the one who doesn't like to be bound by rules or boundaries of any kind. That's been a big symbolic influence in my life. When we started the band we decided we wanted that playful spirit in what we do."
The band's instrumentation follows suit. In addition to the instruments traditionally associated with Celtic music (including bagpipes), Coyote Run utilizes African djembe drums, electric guitars, trombones and a didgeridoo.
"For us it's more about what serves the song rather than any kind of list that says A, B or C," says Doersch from his home in Williamsburg, Va.
Coyote Run began a decade ago when theater professor Doersch began writing music.
"It was all very Celtic (sounding)," says Doersch.
After Doersch gathered a group of musicians to make a recording of his songs, the musicians decided that they should remain a group and tour.
The group's touring was so successful that he dropped his teaching job to play music full time. The original group was much more in the Celtic folk tradition. When some original members dropped out five years ago, the group decided to stretch out.
Drummer/percussionist Catherine Hauke joined the group and helped the group redefine its sound.
"That's really when we became a Celtic rock band," says Doersch. "We've gone much further than that than we ever did before."
Doersch says his background in theater (and other members have theatrical backgrounds as well), means the group presents a very theatrical concert. The group also has two very different types of shows - one appropriate for school children and a regular show for all ages.
Doersch says the most difficult thing the group encounters is describing the band's music. While the band is far from traditional, the group is not just a rock band with bagpipes. Some listeners are surprised by the group's eclectic collection of instruments, but Doersch points out that musical instruments have a long history of immigration, including that most distinctive Celtic instrument.
"Bagpipes originated in Turkey," says Doersch. "Almost every old society has some instrument that involves an animal's guts with pipes coming out of it!"
The group may raise a few purist eyebrows, but Doersch says the band is prepared for disdainful critics:
"If people say 'That's not the way you play this type of music,' we know to say, 'That's the way WE play this kind of music.' "
The members of Virginia's Coyote Run put no fences around their music. The band is Doug Bischoff, David Doersch, Catherine Hauke and Michael Kazalski.
Imagine Jethro Tull on Broadway and you're starting to get the picture.
Review of Coyote Run's Concert at the Middle Earth Music Hall
You need to see this band.
Me? I don't like fluffybunny and most things that smack of New Age make me want to gag. Gimme Dream Theater, Savatage and Rush. Yes, I like the marriage of balls and technical proficiency. If the music has an edge as well as a heart, so much the better.
Coyote Run has all of that.
Now, to be honest, I went to see it because a friend of mine is the new bass player, lives 500 miles away and they'd gotten a gig at Middle Earth Music Hall. I knew perfectly well he wouldn't join a band that was crap, but well... I did not expect to be so impressed. It's a thinking man's band, but not of the cool intellectual sort. Naw, this music will move the body, too. (Depressing as hell that there wasn't room for dancing in front of the stage, confound it).
Most of the music is written by David Doersch, the lead tenor. He also plays Accordion, Octave Mandolin, Whistle, Djembe and Trombone. This guy is good. He can go from wry wit, to tender thoughtfulness to the outright playful naughtiness of Coyote, the band's namesake. His performance is energetic and interactive in the manner of the truly excellent performer.
Percussionist is Catherine Hauke. Couple of her favorite drummers are Stewart Copeland and Neil Peart. It shows. She's precise and ballsy at the same time. They refer to her as a Drum Goddess and the title is well deserved.
Michael Kazalski the new bass player and the friend I'd come to see. I knew he was good with the Djembe, having had the pleasure of having danced at a drum circle where he was playing. His bass playing is nice and smooth, a rich chocolate sound that goes well with Hauke's drumming. He has a Jazz background, but it blend so well with the rest of the band.
Doug Bischoff is the guitarist and lead baritone (fans self... my oh, my, that boy can sing... Sorry. Weakness for a good baritone. Don't mind me.) He also plays Bagpipes, Whistle, Mandolin, Didgeridoo, Bodhran, Dulcimer, Flute, Harp. He has a bit of the imp in him, but doesn't let it get in the way of a tight, professional performance. Quite appropriately Coyote and a delightful performer.
Go see them. Seriously. It's a good show.
Coyote Run is also downloadable on iTunes... Just saying.
Review of "Pleads the Fifth"
And now for something a tad more centered in the traditional. Coyote Run is very eclectic in it's musical approach. Here it is a good thing. They begin with Peter Bellamy's arrangement of Rudyard Kipling's poem "Oak & Ash & Thorn." Likewise Coyote Run runs with Robert Louis Stevenson's "Glory's Call." A most interesting combination of traditional Irish tunes with nineteenth century British literature(and in the case of Kipling very ironic indeed). Another song in this vein is "Ulysses" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
"The Dragon of Cabo San Lucas" instrumentally has a distinctly Breton quality to it, albeit with a Calfornia of old locale to the lyrics. Everywhere on this CD the musical craftsmanship is flawless.
"Wee Be Souldiers Three" is one of the best renditions of this I've heard. "Mairi Mac" is also here. And for something totally unexpected "Bye Bye Blues"/"Bill Bailey" in the midst of all this combination of British literature, traditional tunes, and Celtic instrumentals. Another digression is Carl Franzen's "On The Road" which fits just fine here.
"Boardin' The Train" is an interesting takeoff on Welsh folklore written by David Doersch and sung boldly here. Coyote Run certainly is adept in it's own way with taking from all walks of Celtic tradition.
This holds right to the end with an unabashedly pagan "Lord Of The Dance."
Listening to Coyote Run makes me think of a large fascinating library, where every book you open gives you a view of something fascinating.
"Kevin Crowe - Knoxville Weekly Voice 'Metro Pulse'"
Celtic craziness is the term press releases and ho-hum music reviewers have stamped on the quirky five-piece group from Williamsburg, VA.; however, this succinct stamp doesn't do much to describe the vastness of the music, which takes Gaelic ballads and sentimental maritime jingles and updates them with a tinge of modern risque. It's a bit tongue-in-check, the way they approach playing in a historical genre; it's a bit over the top too. But that kind of unconstrained frivolity is what makes their live show one of the best - albeit unconventional - Celtic bands ever to don fancy plaid kilts.
"At first I thought it was the band version of Riverdance," Scott West says. But he was later informed that his biggest concern should be how much Coyote Run would out-rock any other band that's unfortunate enough to share the stage with these five certified virtuosos. "They say that they rock live," West adds. And with songs ranging from a jig in celebration of a loose-pantied girl named Mairi Mac to a strange hymnal about brave Ulysses, we're inclined to agree. Funktabulous infused Gaelic rock-esque folk with a big barrel of mead sounds more apt then Celtic craziness, for sure.
Review of "Tend the Fire"
Coyote Run can't hold back their enthusiasm for the holidays. The opening track on [Tend] the Fire, "Somerset Wassail," strikes a galloping pace and plays with the traditional arrangement enough to introduce our merry balladeers. There are attempts to regain some sense of holy solemnity. The traditional "A Sail!" is delivered with steady, austere vocal harmonizing. "The Bells," performed with the title instruments, along with accordions and others, is a snow-crisp rendition of the familiar tune. But try as they might to keep a straight face, the Coyotes and their friends can't maintain it for long, and soon they're swinging through "The Christmas Song" and inserting tongues in the cheeks of overly familiar carols.
That enthusiasm, along with a varied song selection, makes [Tend] the Fire more flexible than most holiday albums. "Greensleeves" is a fine traditional song, at home any time of year. The dreams of peace on Earth in "Wise Men" and "Christmas in the Trenches" are especially resonant in the Christmas season, but universal and poetic enough to sound right on a midsummer's eve. Other songs, like the decidedly Christmassy "Boar's Head Christmas Carol" and the tongue-in-cheek "Twelve Days After Christmas" are boisterous enough to fit any holiday, from New Year's Eve to May Day.
Despite its flexibility, [Tend] the Fire is still very much a Christmas album. There are meditative, almost holy moments, in many of the chosen carols, enhanced by Coyote Run's choir-like vocal layering. Contrasting their elegantly streamlined vocal arrangements with extravagant and varied instrumental assortments, Coyote Run perfectly captures the mix of rejoicing and contemplation that is the holiday season at its best, and delivers it in one fine CD.
Review of "Don't Hold Back"
Coyote Run started as four guys making high-energy music and enjoying the process. Their third CD attests this remains the case, but David Doersch, Steve Holliday, Les Kayanan and Gabe Stone now reveal subtleties and refinements missing from their earlier efforts. Their close harmonies sound more secure, their energy more focused and their songwriting, mostly by Doersch, more poetic and interesting. Producer Paul Mills contributes mightily to the coherence and sophistication of this recording and adds his nimble fingers (as Curly Boy Stubbs) on a variety of string instruments on most of the tracks. The Coyotes, based in Virginia, recorded in Canada, and perform with a Scots-Irish influence. They offer an ample selection of 14 songs on this CD, eight by Doersch, one by Stone, a Hawaiian song by Taylor and Flanagan, the well-known "The Last Leviathan" by Andy Barnes, the traditional "Over the Hills and Far Away," and Andy Stewart's lyrics for "Blackbird" as a medley with"Here's a Health to the Company." To conclude this CD of grand ballads, they take on a risky song for any one other than its composer; Stan Rogers' "Northwest Passage." They acknowledge this by employing a choir that includes Stan's widow, Ariel, not to mention the production by Stan's friend and producer Mills. They succeed admirably on this giant iceberg of a song. The Coyotes fascinate beyond their engrossing sound because of the nature of their songs. All the songs tell involving stories that draw you in, including "The Hunley," the true story of one of the first submarines; "Peter and Anya" takes the listener to the doomed Russian submarine Kursk, that sank August, 1999; and "Goodnight, Innocence," a song for Doersch's daughter occasioned by September 11, 2001. This CD contains all the right stuff: energy, intelligence, and memorable music. Don't hold back, buy it.
Review of "Don't Hold Back", "Full Throttle Celtic", "Tend the Fire", "Coyote Run"
Coyote Run's CD's runs from Celtic to alternative, to sea-faring folk, to traditional. Each CD brings a new awareness of sound, energy and emotion. This high energy group performs with technical expertise in musicianship and songwriting. Embedded in their performance is passion. This passion to entertain is fully demonstrated in their songs and expressed with vocal power. These are well-trained vocals capable of carrying the emotion even in a-capella. Their songs are simple in construction holding true to their chosen genre, yet these simple songs possess the same power of emotion as fully orchestrated songs and is due to the extreme talent of this well-defined band. Each of their CD's have the qualities to fully entertain even the most discriminating listener.
Coyote Run is an excellent example of cultural diversity. They hail from historic Williamsburg, VA.; their name is from the American Southwest; they perform traditional Celtic and folk music; and they record their music in Canada. While the roots of their inspirations are all over the map, they have a focused talent for narrative music. Coyote Run's songs range from serious and somber to light-hearted fun, and the continuity of strength is in their ability to convey a story.
If you want direct storytelling, there are gripping adventures such as "The Dragon of Cabo San Lucas" and "The Hunley." If you want subtlely and double-entendres, listen to "The Coyote Polka," which employs a goofy polka sound to expose the silly yet sad nature of prejudice, and "Dammit, Man," a funny look at addictive aggression leading to political revolution. Or if you prefer to wrench out your heart, you won't leave wanting. "Goodnight, Innocence" is a heart-breaking ballad about the juxtaposition of a man's innocent child to the horror of Sept. 11, 2001. There's also a tragic imagining of a possible victim of the 1999 sinking of the Russian submarine, the Kursk, in "Peter & Anya."
I have to admit that as you listen to this album, if you have any complaints, they will be obliterated by the absolutely wonderful rendition of Stan Rogers' "Northwest Passage." Steve, Dave and Gabe start off strong enough, but the arrival of the chorus will blow you away. The chorus is so fantastic that if I keep writing about them I'll need a thesaurus for more positive descriptions. This song alone is worth buying the album.
Review of "Full Throttle Celtic"
Recorded before a live audience in August 2002 at Tonesoup Recording Studios in Connecticut, Coyote Run's new album "Full Throttle Celtic" supercharges traditional Celtic favorites and debuts the finest of Coyote Run's own recent creative work.
A few favorite songs from Coyote Run's self-titled album are performed live, including "Lord of the Dance," "Them's Fightin' Words," and "Ripe and Bearded Barley." In the few years since David Doersch recorded "Bear River" on Warrior Poet, the band contacted the Shoshone Native American poet Ronald Snake Edmo and gained permission to perform one of his poems as a preface to David's song. In this live recording of "Bear River," the dual-voice recitation of Edmo's poem "Tso 'Ape (Ghost)" shadows the tragedy of the Shoshone massacre in Utah in the 1860's. Another treatment of serious material is Coyote Run's performance of Schooner Fair's song "Powder Monkeys," which recounts the loss of the young boys on maritime ships who carried volatile buckets of gun-power to feed the ships' cannons.
Full Throttle Celtic also has plenty of songs to lighten the heart, including the crowd-pleasing Bostonian favorite "The MTA," and the familiar "Wild Rover." The listener understands why this is "full throttle" Celtic music when Coyote Run launches into a quickly paced and revved-up arrangement of Rudyard Kipling's "Oak and Ash and Thorn."
New material on the CD include "Gra Mo Croide," a finely crafted song of love, immigration, and loss; this the first of Gabe Stone's own writing to be recorded by Coyote Run. "Boarding the Train" is another Coyote Run original recorded for the first time and features a single-note choral drone ("It's okay to breathe once in a while!" warns David to the audience). In this song, the vocals and driving beat of the bodhran conjures the image of a ghostly train picking up newly departed souls to be delivered to the afterlife.
Coyote Run saved the best for the next-to-last musical track on the CD. Described as the product of an argument between the band members who each wanted to go a different direction with a new song, Coyote Run's arrangement of "The Battle of New Orleans" is a show-stopper. Combining Gabe's love of Irish rhythms, Les Kayanan's passion for military history, Steve Holliday's affection for vintage rock-and-roll, and David's wish for "something with a little spice," the four thrashed out this incredibly entertaining, foot-stopping, whooping and hollering, musical montage. "The Battle of New Orleans" stands out as the strongest song of the recording, and the live performance setting captures the energetic response of the audience.
Full Throttle Celtic is the first live performance recording by this quartet of incredibly talented men. For someone new to Coyote Run's music, this CD is the perfect introduction to the sound and style of the band. Those who are familiar with Coyote Run will find themselves enjoying the delights of their new material and Celtic-with-a-kick arrangements.
Review of "Coyote Run"
The packaging of this disc caught my eye first off - it is different, but beautifully done. The pictures blend well with the text, as well as the cultures that are joined here on this disc - both Celtic and Native American. It is an adventure, and one of great music and wonderful energy.
According to the liner notes, "In the American Southwest, there comes a time of day when the coyotes run amok. They appear in twos, threes or more, to yip and race and play. This display of energy and playfulness, incredible in the desert heat, is called the Coyote Run." This is a name which seems quite fitting for this group.
Coyote Run consists of David Doersch (vocals, accordion, bass guitar, djembe), Steve Holliday (vocals, bass, 6- and 12-string guitars), Les Kayanan (vocals, 6- and 12-string guitars, bass guitars, percussion), Arthur Rosenberg (vocals, keyboard, recorder) and Gabriel Stone (vocals, flute, tuba, mandolin, recorder, cittern, bagpipes, percussion). This is a talented and rather eclectic group of musicians who make the differences work very well.
Off to Madagascar" is a lively song about smugglers and the life they lead on the open sea. Carrying their cargo from the supplier to the buyer, running from the Navy, being greeted by whores in port. A life of danger and romance, one which has caught more than one young man's fancy over the years. The lyrics are imaginative and capture the simplicity of such a life, while the music contributes to the whimsy.
There's a wonderful a cappella piece contained on this disc titled "Back to Galloway." David handles the lead vocals, with the rest contributing vocal support. It is a faultless piece, conveying the love of home. Their voices build and twine about each other, only to fall silent before repeating the experience. This is a commanding track, and one which caught me by surprise -- I wasn't expecting such a blend of wonderful vocals...
...There are some exquisite original tracks on this disc that will appeal to many people from many walks of life. From Celtophiles to pagans, to those who believe yet in the magic to be found deep in the forest, all will find something to their liking on this first release. I certainly hope that there will be more, with as much originality and talent as is found here.