Sunday, April 15, 2012

Coyote Slim

Name:  Coyote Slim
What do you do? 
I play old-timey blues – what some folks call Delta blues although a lot of what I play originated in Texas and I sing about California.   I call it “old-timey stomp-down farmer music.”  I’m also an arborist, a supporter of local sustainable agriculture, and an advocate for the rights of Native Peoples.

Where can we find your work? 
On my website, on youtube, CD baby, and itunes.  As far as live performances, I often perform at local farmer’s markets.

What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough? 
I am inspired by life.  A lot of people think the blues is sad music, and it can be, but blues songs are actually about getting over problems and celebrating life.  When things get tough, you have to remember that it’s all part of a cycle – good and bad, night and day, drought and flood. And beer. . . The thought of a cold beer at the end of a long day at work can be an inspiration to just get through and keep working.  And of course, you have to work to have beer money.  Like I said, it’s a cycle.
What do you think is more important content/finished product or technique/process? 
Neither.  What’s important is the authenticity and soul of art.  If you can’t relate to the song you are singing or story you are telling, regardless of whether you have actually experienced every little thing in that song or story, you’ll come off as a fake.  As I’ve gotten older and experience more of life, the old blues songs make a lot more sense to me.
Who are some people who influence and/or inspire you? 
An artist named CeDell Davis is the most inspiring man I’ve ever heard.  I’ve never met him, but seen interviews on video of him.  A man from an impoverished Southern background, he was crippled by polio and trampled in a bar stampede.  The bad luck this man has experienced is horribly depressing, but he didn’t let it stop him from playing music.  He can’t walk, and he can’t lift his arms higher than his shoulders, and he can’t fret a guitar.  He relearned how to play guitar using a butter-knife as a slide and kept playing music.
If you could be any fictional character who would you be? 
I’m not altogether certain that I’m not one right now.

When do you get your best ideas?
My creativity has never been limited to a time of day.

What materials/tools do you use most to create your work? 
Voice and guitar.

Are you self taught or formally educated? How do you think that has influenced or affected your work?  
I am self-taught.  I guess that’s no surprise to people that bitch about my timing.  I don’t play music by counting, and I don’t understand how one can count and create music at the same time.  I learned and continue to learn by hearing patterns of sound, not by counting.  Like birds sing in patterns, I play patterns of sound.
What would your creative work taste like?
Smoked salmon.
When you are not creating what do you like to do?
Be outside – pruning trees, hiking or spending time with friends, going to pow wows.

How did you learn to access your creative talents and gain the confidence to put it out there for everyone to experience?  By just having the balls to perform publicly in the first place and building confidence over time.

What advice would you give others just beginning their creative adventures?   Take positive criticism, and never stop learning, but don’t let negative people get you down.  Learn your limits but never be afraid to expand your potential and do new things.  Don’t let people tell you that you should do something else because you don’t fit their preconception of whatever it is you’re doing.

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