Ted Drozdowski | Coyote Motel

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Coyote Motel

by Ted Drozdowski

Cosmic roots music describes this new album from the leader of Ted Drozdowski's Scissormen. Full of elegant and daring guitar, wide-ranging sounds and smart, mature lyrics, these 10 songs amount to a complete sonic and artistic vision. Order now!
Genre: Rock: American Trad Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Still Among the Living
4:06 album only
2. Josh Gibson
4:17 album only
3. Los Alamos
3:37 album only
4. Frog Alley
2:55 album only
5. Down in Chulahoma
3:42 album only
6. Trouble
2:56 album only
7. My Friend
5:54 album only
8. Jimmy Brown
2:18 album only
9. 57 Flavors
4:37 album only
10. Tin Pan Alley
4:14 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Ted Drozdowski Talks About His Evolutionary New Cosmic Roots Music Album, Coyote Motel, Out January 25

Nashville-based guitar daredevil, singer, songwriter and producer creates a sonic and soulful 10-song set, funded by fans and featuring liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis. First single and video: “Still Among the Living.”

Hi. I’m Ted Drozdowski. Welcome to my Coyote Motel. I hope you enjoy your stay!

In case you don’t know me, I’m a moderately successful guitarist, songwriter, singer and producer, and I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with my wife, Laurie, and our dog Dolly. We’ve got a good thing going.

And if you’re wondering how to pronounce my name, it’s three syllables: Droz-dow-ski.

There’s a chance you might know my other band, Scissormen. We’ve toured the U.S and played Europe, hitting everything from juke joints to coffeehouses to Bonnaroo, and put out six releases, including my previous, Love & Life, and the DVD/CD set BIG SHOES: Walking and Talking the Blues, which includes a 90-minute movie by the great music documentary filmmaker Robert Mugge. It debuted at the Starz Denver Film Festival, which I think is cool enough to mention. Along the way, we’ve gotten a lot of airplay and many people have said and written nice things about us.

Coyote Motel is cosmic roots music. I’ve always heard what I call Great American Music as a glorious continuum, and I believe that, like parallel universes, all of the sounds that it encompasses exist and can be heard at the same time. So for me, the influences of Muddy Waters and Daniel Lanois, or Lonnie Mack and Sonny Sharrock, not only can but should exist in the same song. I also believe the mark of a true artist is to distil influences and ideas into an original voice. With Coyote Motel, I’ve done my best to live up to those principles.

To me, the 10 songs on Coyote Motel, which is also the name of the band, are a complete sonic vision. Some of my best lyrics and finest recorded guitar playing is here—but you should catch the band live. We have a reputation for explosive performances. We’re serious about upholding tradition while pushing the envelope, but we’re also seriously committed to everybody—including ourselves—having fun.

Coyote Motel was recorded in Nashville with me and my friend and longtime bassist, Sean Zywick, co-producing, and my newer friend, Kyra Curenton, on drums. Pete Pulkrabek also played drums on half the album’s songs. He’s a friend, too.

I write the songs and play electric, acoustic, resonator, and lap steel guitars, and a little percussion, and I sing. I’m joined on a few numbers by the great Nashville-based vocalist Luella Melissa Mathes, who some of you may know from Luella and the Sun and Crackerboots. Another friend, Mark Robinson, a respected singer/guitarist/songwriter who was voted Best Roots Guitarist in The Alternate Root’s readers’ poll, engineered half the album, and Sean recorded the rest. Mike Purcell mixed and mastered. Mike Windy created the cover painting and our longtime graphic designer is Katrina Grimwood. The liner notes are by the author Anthony DeCurtis. It’s nice to work with so many friends! It’s also terrific to have the support of all the people in many countries whose generous donations via Indiegogo allowed me to make both Coyote Motel and Love & Life. Angels exist!

As an instrumentalist, I’m mostly known for my slide guitar playing—which can be aggressive, wild, spacey, or deeply traditional—but Coyote Motel has allowed me to branch out in a lot of different styles and directions. So maybe now is a good time to talk about the songs. A few are simply good fun, like “Los Alamos,” which is a tongue-in-cheek ditty about the Apocalypse, or “57 Flavors,” which is about life’s chaos. But like anybody, what I see in the world today makes me reflect, so “Trouble”—which I played on a one-string electric diddley bow—and “Jimmy Brown” are protest songs. “Josh Gibson” is, too, but it’s subtler, letting the story of Josh’s amazing life in baseball do the work. I learned about Josh Gibson years ago through my friend Ronnie Earl, who educated me about the Negro Leagues.

“Still Among the Living” is an important song for me. It’s about living with the legacy of abuse, and it has a guitar solo that I think really gets to the tune’s heart. Luella does a killer job on it, too. “Frog Alley” is about the opioid crisis in East Tennessee, but it’s got a sense of humor. (Really!) “My Friend” was written for my dear friend, the great soul singer Mighty Sam McClain, but I think it’s also for anybody who mourns the loss of a valued compadre. True friends are too few in this life. And speaking of dear friends, “Down in Chulahoma” reflects on the years Laurie and me spent in north Mississippi having our brains rewired by R.L. Burnside (who inspired me to start Scissormen and changed my life profoundly), Jessie Mae Hemphill, and Junior Kimbrough, and absorbing the music of the hill country. Along with Sam and the jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock, they are my deepest musical and personal influences. I think of them all and miss them every day.

Some of these new songs have already had three or four lives. I kept pushing myself to make the lyrics true to the stories I wanted to tell, and sometimes a song that started as one thing evolved into another, and another, before it was recorded. Occasionally final lyrics presented themselves as I was singing into the microphone. Living in Nashville, there’s a high bar for songwriting, and I want to hold up my end.

There is one cover tune. I have been smitten with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s smoldering version of Bob Geddins’ “Tin Pan Alley” since the day I heard it. And I’ve long felt that a slow blues is an ideal departure point to reach for the stars, sonically—which Stevie did in his own way. Now, I’ve done that, too, taking a vastly different approach.

This isn’t a simple album, necessarily, but it’s not superfancy, either. It’s honest. It’s real. It’s an evolution for me and gets to the core of what I wanted to say as we recorded, both lyrically and musically. I’m really excited about Coyote Motel. I hope you like it, too.

If you’ve got any questions for me about any of this or the other stuff I do or have done, you can always drop me a line via the email address on the teddrozdowski.com website. It’s at the bottom. There’s also a lot of info on show dates, Scissormen, my ebook, my slide guitar and music history workshops, and my music journalism. Reach me via Facebook, too. And hey, if you’ve hung in this long, my sincere thanks!

With love from Nashville,



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