Ted Drozdowski came to Darwin’s last Friday with his fellow band members in the new group, Coyote Motel. That is also the name of the latest album featuring Drozdowski. The other members of Coyote Motel are Sean Zywick on bass and Kyra Curenton on drums. Ted, of course, plays guitars and handles vocals, plus the crowd-pleasing diddley bow.
Those of us who had seen Ted before were familiar with the diddley bow, but there were people there who had never seen or heard one and they were amazed by it. In the hands of an expert like he is, it is an amazing instrument, It has a very unique sound you would never imagine from such a primitive instrument.
At the beginning of the concert, the audience consisted, mostly members of the Atlanta Blues Society. Ted came over and remarked that my husband and I have been at all of their concerts in Atlanta, which is true. .Later, more people came in and it was a pretty good crowd for a rainy Easter Friday.
But it was smaller than it should have been for one of the most entertaining and certainly one of the most interactive shows you could ever attend. Zywick and Curenton did a great job of keeping things going onstage while Drozdowski spent at least as much time offstage as on. He wandered through the audience, playing and singing, occasionally standing in chairs, stopping at people’s tables and at the bar, asking random people to hold the guitar flat while he expertly played slide with whatever was on the table.. .a plastic knife,the jar the utensils were in, a plastic cup, the napkin dispenser.. and never missing a beat or a note. He really is amazing.
As for the music, it was great, too. This night, he played classic tunes like “When the Levee Breaks” (the original Memphis Minnie version) and Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin” as well as a whole lot of his own songs from various albums. A lot of them were from the last album, Love & Life and the new Coyote Motel. Some were tributes to his heroes, like “Watermelon Kid” and the new “Josh Gibson.” Others were about places, such as”Frog Alley” and “Down in Chilahoma.” Still, others told more personal stories of family, such as “Black Lung Fever.” and one, perhaps my favorite, is a gihst story, “The River.”
Looking back, it is amazing how much he packed into the time we were there. And we had to leave before the end, although we stayed for three hours! It was marvelous and magical and you owe it to yourself to get yourself out to see Coyote Motel or Ted Drozdowski solo at a concert in a club, at a house concert or a workshop or anywhere you can! And pick up Coyote Motel for music that will stay with you through many listenings!