The Stone Coyotes

Rise from the Ashes

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"House of Confusion" has a bed of sparse rockabilly guitar under the distinctive voice of Barbara Keith to open 2003's Rise from the Ashes, another good collection of tunes from the Tibbles family of Western Massachusetts. With references to Marc Bolan's "20th Century Boy" one can hear the retro T. Rex riff taking center stage, kind of like Bolan doing battle with Robert Gordon and the Stray Cats. The vocal rap is mellow, oozing over the rugged '50s guitar line and the resulting product is as intriguing as "Rock Harder Than You," another gritty composition that producers Chinn & Chapman would no doubt love to get their hands on. With an off-gold phoenix proudly on the cover and an elegant 16-page booklet of lyrics inside, Keith, with some help from husband/drummer Doug Tibbles, composes all 13 titles, in the style the fans have come to expect from this eclectic trio. It's the ballads on this disc, though, that really stand out, and the authoritative "The Sailor's Song" with its graceful tones proves that point. Keith is a master of melancholy melody and her descriptive words glide along the accompaniment with her trademark ardor. It's a great song topped only by the final track, "Adriana," a tremendous narrative in the vein of "Free the People," though without the gospel. The former vocalist from Boston area band Kangaroo with John Hall could be speaking of herself in "The Phoenix" with its "wings of gold" hook; and where Tracy Chapman will engage the audience by "Telling Stories" with large production, the Stone Coyotes team keep it simple letting Mama Tibbles multi-track her voice on a tune that Linda Ronstadt could easily launch into the stratosphere. On second thought, it's the Eagles who should pick up on "Your Hour to Sing," material very much along their lines though with a bit more edge than that venerable unit has mustered in awhile. They could also pick up on "Ain't Nobody Home," another strong essay from Keith's perpetual fountain of melodies. Rise from the Ashes is a good addition to the Stone Coyotes collection with some key music that entertains and inspires.

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