The Stone Coyotes just might be the weirdest rock band you’ll hear all year. The rural-Massachusetts-based trio comprises Barbara Keith (a 52-year-old singer-guitarist whose ’70s solo work has been covered by Barbra Streisand, Tanya Tucker, and Olivia Newton-John), Doug Tibbles (Keith’s 59-year-old drummer husband, and former screenwriter for The Munsters, Bewitched, and Love American Style), and Tibbles’s son, 34-year-old bassist John Tibbles. They all seem to like each other and lead fairly uncomplicated lives. It gets weirder: Bestselling author Elmore Leonard, who wrote the hit novels-cum-movies Out of Sight, Jackie Brown, and Get Shorty, based the fictional rock group in Get Shorty‘s sequel Be Cool on the Coyotes, even incorporating some of their lyrics. And weirder still: They have a song on the soundtrack to D3: The Mighty Ducks. Already, this band makes U.S. Maple look like Matchbox 20.
But the strangest thing about the Stone Coyotes is how not strange they sound. Born to Howl, their third self-released album, is one of the heartiest meat-and-potatoes classic-rock records in recent memory. Solid-as-a-Chevy-truck rhythms keep songs like “Call Off Your Dogs” and the head-bangin’ cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” chugging along seamlessly, while Keith has obviously studied ZZ Top and George Thorogood riffs like a mulleted teenager. But you won’t be hearing Born to Howl on WAXQ (“New York’s only classic rock station”) anytime soon; the Coyotes are too country. Keith’s full-bodied twang wraps right around the spooky desert lament “Four Times Gone,” and she name-checks Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline on “Death of the American Song.” Acoustic guitars and a piano or two sneak up on the slower numbers — a few of which are so pretty you might just stop hating your parents, and decide to form a band with them.