Coyote Motel review…January 25, 2019….





It has been our pleasure to have known Ted Drozdowski since he moved to Nashville some years back.  But, we were familiar with his music and his contributions to publications such as “Blues Revue” long before his move.  He’s always been a wonderfully-unique individual with a kind heart and a gentle soul.  As guitarists go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one any better, even in a town noted for ’em.  And, he can hold his own with any of the writers you can name.  His latest band and album share the same name, “Coyote Motel.”  There are nine originals and one cover, with excellent examples of protest songs, songs that evoke memories of his time spent in the Hill Country of North Mississippi, with the likes of Jessie Mae Hemphill, Junior KImbrough, and R. L. Burnside, and some songs that are just plain fun.

Joining Ted, who’s on guitars, diddley-bow, percussion and vocals, we have Sean Zywick on bass, and Kyra Curenton on drums.  There are a couple of cool tracks that deal with the Apocalypse, and one of them leads off.  Pounding, Doomsday-ish percussion drives the haunting “Still Among The Living,” while, a little later on, “Los Alamos” is a bit more light-hearted, as “Jesus is coming, and he’s got a grudge!”  “Frog Alley” is a real twang-fest that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the opioid crisis in East Tennessee, while the set closes with one of Ted’s favorite songs, as well as one of ours.  The set’s lone cover is done in tribute to SRV, the iconic “Tin Pan Alley.”  Ted sets it over echo effect instrumentation in that place where people “live for whiskey, wine, and gin!”

We loved Ted’s “hero songs” the best, tho.  A song that rocks with punk-like abandon details the life of “Jimmy Brown,” who’s “daddy marched with Dr. King.”  “Josh Gibson” traces the life and times of the great slugger from the old pre-Integration Negro Leagues, whose 800 home runs are legendary.  Herein, Ted aptly describes Babe Ruth as “the white man’s JG!”  And, Ted uses the beats of the Hill Country to describe his feelings about “My Friend,” the late soul man, Mighty Sam McClain.

Ted Drozdowski has always had an avant-garde, free-wheeling outlook on not only his music, but life in general.  A staunch animal activist and a man we are proud to call our friend, he has brought that same feel to the grooves of “Coyote Motel.”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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