Stevie Coyle (late of the whiz-bang string band The Waybacks) is one lucky bum. His dad ran a radio station in southern California and brought home all the promo LPs that didn't fit the Spanish-language format. The Ventures' Guitar Freakout, The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett and Alvin And The Chipmunks Play The Beatles' Hits all came home on a single fateful day.
It didn't hurt, either, that string-meister David Lindley played in a bluegrass band that rehearsed right next door and gave Stevie his very first lessons, or that his dear Granny was a pianist in the heyday of vaudeville and that his sainted mother was a whiz in mandolin orchestras during the 1930s.
Not even several years of playing Folk Masses every Sunday could quash his musical spirit, and in high school he began fingerpicking, inspired - as so many were - by that first Hot Tuna album.
After securing degrees in Theatre and Theology at Santa Clara University he hit the road for 3 years with The Royal Lichtenstein Circus. Once back home, he signed on as actor and stage manager for The San Jose Repertory Company. He announced killer whale shows. His best friend was an elephant.
He and his good pal Roy Zimmerman have worked closely in several collaborations over the past 25 years, including folk tribute / parody band The Foremen and comedy duo The Reagan Bros. in Los Angeles, and while there, Stevie appeared on Cheers and in many television commercials and had a regular role on The Young And The Restless (which was utterly subsumed by then-daily broadcasts of the interminable Iran-Contra hearings.)
Hey ... wake up! We're almost done.
Safely back in the Bay Area, he continued his acting career, doing commercials, radio, voiceovers and films and played in folk duos The Frontmen and The Back Room Boys. In 1998 he co-founded The Waybacks with Wayne "Chojo" Jacques and Glenn (Pomianek) Houston. Soon the acoustic trio were joined by drummer Peter Tucker and bassist Chris Kee. This is the band that established and developed The Waybacks' considerable reputation in California. Peter, Chris and Glenn were eventually replaced by Chuck Hamilton, Joe Kyle and James Nash. Stevie fronted both versions of the band and toured steadily with the latter configuration from 2000 through 2007. The band released 4 albums in that time, played major festivals like Merlefest, Grey Fox, Floydfest, Great Waters, Old Settlers, Bumbershoot and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, toured Australia, and collaborated with Lloyd Maines, Michelle Shocked and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead.
Stevie's gone feral and solo nowadays, and is busily booking festivals, venues and house concerts, both nationally and internationally. He has completed and released his first solo CD, called "Ten-In-One," produced by singer/songwriter and guitar guru Walter Strauss.
Stevie Coyle - Acoustic Guitar/Vocals
Solo: "Ten In One," featuring Stevie with guest artists Mike Marshall, Phil Aaberg, Kit Walker, Corinne West, Heidi Clare, Robby Virus, Mike Phelan, Teresa Tudury, Kendrick Freeman, Sam Bevan, Rachel Tree and producer Walter Strauss.
With The Waybacks: "Devolver," "Burger After Church," "Way Live" and "From The Pasture To The Future."
With The Frontmen: "The Frontmen."
With The Foremen "The Best of The Foremen."
Rue du Romie
Compadres In The Old Sierra Madres (live)
The Petrified Man
Blather / Front Porch Rocker Medley (live)
Train On The Brain
Microphone Fever (live)
Cousin Sari Brown
The Last Song
Mr. Oster's Theme
Ten-In-One by Stevie Coyle "!0 Best Pazz & Jop" Poll
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Chicago journalist David Royko nominated Stevie Coyle's Ten-In-One as one of his "10 Best CDs of 20...Chicago journalist David Royko nominated Stevie Coyle's Ten-In-One as one of his "10 Best CDs of 2009" list in The Village Voice's New York Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll.
San Fran Guitar Virtuoso Finds Life's A Carnival
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"After several albums with country-rockers The Waybacks, Coyle's solo debut is a wonderfully imagine..."After several albums with country-rockers The Waybacks, Coyle's solo debut is a wonderfully imagined concept album about American carny folk and circus showmen. The dozen picaresque songs, sometimes spoken and sometimes sung, mix folk, bluegrass, ragtime and roots-rock with evocative sound effects, and are driven by Coyle's own classy fingericking, backed by a virtuosic acoustic ensemble. It all works a treat, mining traditional indigenous music forms to illuminate a fascinating slice of vernacular American history in much the same way as Ry Cooder's Chavez Ravine and My Name Is Buddy."
Ten-In-One album review - Marin IJ
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Marin's Stevie Coyle, former guitarist, singer and co-founder of the Americana band the Waybacks, se...Marin's Stevie Coyle, former guitarist, singer and co-founder of the Americana band the Waybacks, sets off on his own with this ambitious and impressive solo debut, a CD that's imaginative, intelligent, clever, highly skilled musically and fearlessly conceived in the spirit of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Instead of Mr. Kite, though, Coyle records a single day in the life of Mr. Oster, an unassuming and introspective Everyman who travels to a land Pink Floyd fans might recognize as "The Dark Side of the Moon."
Originally planned as a simple finger-picking guitar record, "Ten-In-One" grew into a circus of an album that takes listeners on a journey to a sideshow and back.
Produced by singer-songwriter Walter Strauss at the Treehouse in Larkspur, Coyle's hometown, the CD's 11 tracks showcase eight creative originals, one traditional tune and three covers, including "The Falcon" by Richard Farina and "Penny Wishes" by Marin's own Doug Adamz.
Coyle, who sings, plays guitar and lap steel, calls this collection of songs and instrumentals "runaway eclecticism," a description that says it all. The high caliber of the musicians who guest on this record - among them Mike Marshall, Philip Aaberg and Kit Walker - says something about the respect Coyle, a sought-after guitar teacher and regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar Magazine, has earned in the Bay Area music community.
"Ten-In-One" deserves repeated listening, and takes its place in my collection as one of the finest albums I've heard this year.
Barry "The Fish" Melton dug Ten-In-One
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"I listened to your CD: It's brilliant! I really mean that. I found it to be an incredibly visual ex..."I listened to your CD: It's brilliant! I really mean that. I found it to be an incredibly visual experience ... I was enamored by its continuity - the way you occupied the spaces between songs was extraordinary: What a trip! I'll shout that from the rooftops!"
Barry Melton, late of Country Joe & The Fish
House concert progenitors Russ & Julie say nice things about SC
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We'd add that Steve Coyle's solo shows are outstanding. Our recent House Concert with the incompa...We'd add that Steve Coyle's solo shows are outstanding.
Our recent House Concert with the incomparable Stevie Coyle ranks among the best shows we've had. Stevie's great song writing and amazing guitar playing were complimented by his humor, charm and exceptional rapport with the audience. He's a dynamite performer and a true professional who left everyone raving about the show. It was truly a wonderful evening and we can't wait to bring him back.
Russ & Julie
Russ & Julie's House Concerts
Ten-In-One album review - Brad Kava
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"Ten-in-One" has the pioneer spirit of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" or the "12 Dreams of..."Ten-in-One" has the pioneer spirit of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band" or the "12 Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus." There's a surprise around every corner. Like the works of the great musicians - back when they were in the artist business, not the music business - it doesn't fit in any genre; it stretches all over the place, like Silly Putty. There isn't just one joker in this deck: all the cards are twisted. Inquiring minds who like their music to take them new places will love it.
Ten-In-One album review by Jeremy Searle (Rock 'N' Reel)
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The perceived (and generally accurate) wisdom about concept albums is that they are rubbish, yet Ste...The perceived (and generally accurate) wisdom about concept albums is that they are rubbish, yet Stevie Coyle's might be one of the few exceptions to the rule. "Might," because it's a strange piece of work, brimming with ideas but not completely focused (though that may be at least part of the point.
Ten-In-One is the name of the sideshow tent at a carnival, and across twelve songs Coyle examines various exhibits from an extensive cast of grotesques, including 'The Petrified Man,' a giant and a remarkably strange bird. Put together by a company of no fewer than eighteen players, the songs reference everything from The Beatles to jazz, Americana to folk, while between them are instrumental pieces, mere snippets, the sort of snatches you might hear while strolling down the midway. The whole effect is hugely evocative of twilight, the slight hint of danger; of not being in Kansas anymore.
Although the concept falters a little as the album nears its end, it's a largely successful work; brave, challenging, and one that repays repeated listening to catch all the nuances and sub-text.
- Jeremy Searle
The Petrified Man (SC)
Train On The Brain (SC)
She Ain't Got Me (SC)
Bruno's Revenge (SC)
Mr. Oster's Baby (SC)
Saltflat Rhapsody (SC)
Rue du Romie (SC)
Cousin Sally Brown (trad)
Major Sally Brown (SC)
Last Steam Engine Train (John Fahey)
I Am The Light Of This World (Rev Gary Davis)
Now I'm Good (Roy Zimmerman)
You Won't See Me (English folk song)
In My Life (English folk song)
Lady Madonna (ditto)
Old Time Religion (trad)
Microphone Fever (Rick Ruskin)
The Overture to "Tommy" (The Who)
Underture (The Who)
Cold Missouri Waters (James Keelaghan)
Front Porch Rocker (Roy Zimmerman)
Embryonic Journey (Jorma Kaukonen)
Heartache Followin' Me (Jim Reeves)
Rachael (Jim Ringer)
Loss Of A Horseman (McNamara/Marlowe)
The Slippery Slope (Bob Evans)
Compadres In The Old Sierra Madres (Woody Paul)
Don't Fear The Reaper ... sort of (Blue Oyster Cult)
Tiki Torches At Twilight (Frizz Fuller)
Waiting For My Real Life To Begin (Colin Hay)
Kumbaya (yeah, right ...)
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