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Hill Country Blues and California Sun On Finally Friday

Wreckless Strangers
Jay Blakesberg
Jay Blakesberg
The Wreckless Strangers

We love how Finally Friday From Home paradoxically takes us places, to hidden video studios and cozy locales from across town to across the nation for live video performances by the elite of roots music. That’s what’s up this week as we tap the feed from the West Coast for the “California Americana Soul” of the Wreckless Strangers and the Nashville-based, Mississippi-inspired dirty blues of Coyote Motel.

Coyote Motel is the nom-de-blues of guitarist, songwriter and singer Ted Drozdowski, the latest incarnation of a career that’s deftly matched roots music journalism with performing and recording. An insightful review of the self-titled Coyote Motel album of 2019 said it well, that Drozdowski is “an abstract bluesman.” Deeply influenced through personal relationships with Hill Country heroes R.L. Burnside, Jessie Mae Hemphill and Sam McClain, he sets up droning atmospheres and fills them with sometimes tonal, sometimes spooky guitar and vocal gestures. It’s not from your grandfather’s juke joint, and that’s what makes it cool and interesting. Ted followed up the studio project with a fiery and searching live album recorded at the 5 Spot. Friend of WMOT Luella lends her emotive, gut-punching vocals too. That’ll give you an idea what to expect when the show gets underway at noon.

The lowdown psychedelia of Coyote Motel should be a good setup for Bay Area sextet Wreckless Strangers. All the members have track records with other musical outfits and they give off the vibes of folks who make music for the pure collective joy of it. And their Dead-evoking graphics usher us into a space of sun-dappled, easy-breezy rock and soul distinguished by the supple voice of Amber Morris. They’ve made a name at the famous Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, and they pulled in Nashville’s sonic alchemist Colin Linden to produce their second album When The Sun And A Blue Star Collide. They go live at 12:30.

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's music news producer and host of The String, a show featuring conversations on culture, media and American music. New episodes of The String air on WMOT 89.5 in Middle Tennessee on Mondays at 8 pm, repeating Sundays at 7 am. Twitter and Instagram: @chavighurst. Email: craig@wmot.org