It was business as usual as Jupiter Coyote an added percussionist in tow, graced the stage of the Lincoln Theatre where the Brevard, N.C.-based quintet delivered the expected goods.
Despite an unusually short opening set lasting only 50 minutes, Coyote wasted no time when it came to putting some muscle into its show. Short set or not, the band proved it was there to work as it opened with an energetic version of "Spiral" from this year's release Waxing Moon.
The opening set was a clever mix of new material, old chestnuts and an interesting cover to which drummer-cum-setlist master Noel Felty said of his selections: "I just took a look at Setlist.com and pulled some songs from some of our best shows."
While the band got its sound ironed out with the opener, there was a certain full-throttle approach as Coyote went into "Flight of The Lorax" that was prefaced by an interesting tease of the Allman Brothers' standard "Whipping Post." An equally aggressive presentation of "Rumplestiltskin" followed featuring guitarist John Felty adding some higher-ranged backing vocals behind Matthew Mayes' lead as well as several stinging guitar riffs.
Anchored by the heavy backbeat of Noel Felty and probing bass of Sanders Brightwell, Felty's wah-wah infused guitar was caught in a swirling mix with fiddle accents provided by Steve Trismen as Mayes tore into the edgy "Breckinridge."
It was on this tune -- taken from Coyote's 1995 release Lucky Day -- that guest percussionist Richard Proctor began to really make his presence known as he, Noel Felty and Brightwell began to gain an understanding despite it being Proctor's first time sitting in with the band.
A plaintive version of "Ship in the Bottle," one of only two songs that John Felty would take the lead vocal chore on the entire night, gave the band a chance to catch its collective breath before delivering a rousing trio of songs to conclude the set. The closing rant began with a rollicking version of "Cindi" as Mayes deftly gave a finger-picking clinic on guijo -- a hybrid instrument with a guitar body and pickups with banjo-style neck and string configuration. "Cindi" also provided Trismen the opportunity to stretch out on fiddle.
Coyote's rendering of the Country-Western standard "Cold Sheets of Rain" segued flawlessly into "Everytime" that was met with approval by a growing crowd that was left wanting more as the band opted for a set break.
The second set, featuring a number of extended jams, found Coyote poised to please as it got the proceedings running again courtesy of "Somehow" -- one of four tracks played on the night from Waxing Moon.
From there, there was no looking back as the band seemingly took a deep collective breath before launching into a driving version of "Tumbleweed" which trickled into "Parkway Blue Blinder." Nary a couple of seconds passed before Mayes' impassioned vocals backed by John Felty's staccato-styled soloing brought new life to a rendition of All Good's "Train Song" which the band also featured on its latest effort.
It would be a John Felty-Mayes tag-team effort that took an extended run of "Lucky Day" to new heights via a Felty slide workout that would have brought a grin to Duane Allman's face while Mayes' trippy guijo runs combined with a mesmerizing rhythm contingent and Trismen's carefully chosen fiddle accents.
As the band often does, Coyote morphed "Lucky Day" into the Allman's "Dreams" and back again into "Lucky Day," carried largely by John Felty's quicksilver slide.
By popular request, Coyote trotted out its countrified crowd-pleaser "Crazy Women-Louisiana Saturday Night-Crazy Women" before Mayes, John Felty and Trismen did a impressive workout of "Duelin' Banjos/Foggy Mountain Breakdown."
This popular traditional often signals the end of an evening for Coyote but the band wasn't finished, not just yet.
"Real Thing" which merged nicely into "The Ballad of Lucy Edenfield" - complete with its intro nicked from Steely Dan's "Bodhisattva" brought the second set to a sweaty, satisfied close.
Coyote's two-song, jam-laden encore kicked off with John Felty handling the vocals on "Confusionville," keyed by Brightwell's muscular bass lines and Noel Felty's rock-solid backbeat. The band, now appearing like it could continue for at least another hour, plowed right into a 10-minute version of "Rose Hill" where John Felty and Mayes took advantage of liberal time to solo.
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