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Music Review: The Stone Coyotes – VIII

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This family trio is made up of Barbara Keith (songwriter, lead singer, lead and rhythm guitar, piano), husband Doug Tibbles (drums, percussion) and stepson John Tibbles (bass, lead guitar).

Both husband and wife got tired of the entertainment scene and moved from L.A. to Western Massachusetts so they could do music their way. They showed that do-it-yourself attitude by setting up a recording studio in the basement of their house, and then started their own record label, Red Cat Records. Even though they've being playing live since the late 70s it wasn't until the late 90s that they released their first album. Since then they've been a prolific band putting out eight albums in 11 years.

Their latest release is titled simply VIII. I guess most bands have a few good album titles in their heads, but by the time it gets around to number eight those are gone.  They probably figured the name fits so why not use it.

This release is filled with, crank up the volume, good old-fashioned, blue collar American rock 'n' roll music. This is the kind of music that you'll hear blasting from the jukebox at any respectable workingman's type of corner bar. While the bands music might be simple American rock, it's far from simplistic with its forceful drum backbeats, and solid bass lines, all set against Barbara Keith's robust guitar chords.

Besides both lead & rhythm guitar duties Barbara Keith also handles lead vocals. Her voice has been compared to Patsy Cline with its deep rich tones, which have just a hint of a country twang found on them. Barbara is no slouch on the guitar either with her power chords that have drawn comparison to guitar hard rockers like AC/DC, on Rolling Stone Online.

This band isn't just a one trick pony though. On VII they prove that they can change the pace of their music with danceable songs like, "If I Knew How to Dance" and "Brand New Car," along with the ballads, "The Lights of Home", and "Kern River", (cover of the Merle Haggard song), that are found on this album.

Also fans of The Velvet Underground will feel right at home with the guitar patterns found on, "All For Angelina." Like with the finest of wines that keep improving with time so does The Stone Coyotes' music with every new album that they release, and VIII is no exception.

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