Two Coyotes (10/13/17)
Too often it seems we are searching for gold in all the wrong places.
On Two Coyotes, Roger Harvey looks beyond the blinding flash of all that seems to glitter and reconnects with the roots of song, reminiscent of a time when music was more folk tradition than commodity. The record feels like a spiritual descendent of the country and folk music that influenced its creation, while maintaining continuity with the electric-guitar driven style of his previous releases. The result is a conversation between the warm acoustic nature of country and the deliberate twang and richness of rock and roll, with a deeply emotive message and timeless delivery.
Recently returned to his home state of Pennsylvania, Roger has found his place in the burgeoning music community of Philadelphia. Although his history in punk rock is extensive, he continues to follow his love of folk and country songwriting. Recorded at Ronnie's Place on Music Row in Nashville, Tennessee, Two Coyotes doesn't fail to evoke it’s heritage. Alongside a cast of close friends—including Mike Sneeringer of Strand of Oaks and Adam Meisterhans of Rozwell Kid—he discovers a reverential yet fresh way of exploring the songs and their roots, though the most obvious connections lie more in the emphasis on craft, storytelling in song, and the subtle interplay between the music and message then they do directly within the album’s sound.
The intentions of the record remain manifest throughout. Two Coyotes is an exploration of connection in the modern era and the ways in which constant distraction drives us further from ourselves and simultaneously further from one another: a case study on how our search for constant validation makes it almost impossible for us not to feel alone.
In “Full Moon,” Roger iterates this experience, “All I wanted was to love you but it’s so hard to stay awake, as we watch it like a full moon from here it only takes away.”
The title track delves further into the subject of separation, specifically the discordant reality of the Mexico-United States Border Wall. Though presented as a blatant protest to the systematic separation of peoples, “Two Coyotes” invites you to approach this reality palpably. He continues, “It’s hard to feel grateful to be sharing the stars as I love you through pictures and telephone wires.”
As a whole, the album stands as a document of Roger's search for love and compassion in a world that too often seems largely devoid of these things, despite our constant “connection.” Amidst a haunting sonic backdrop, Roger’s “Gold” provides perhaps the most encompassing summarization of the album’s query:
“How'd we get so distant while sitting so close? / You call this connected, we're never alone… / Is this what you want?”
While its protest is inherent, its reflection on our era purposeful, and its sonic delivery deeply melancholy, Two Coyotes ultimately leaves us with a hope that stillness and understanding are somewhere within our grasp; that there is still a freedom here, still a beauty within us and among us; and still real, tangible worth in this world—if only we can learn to listen, to love, and to discern true value amidst the constant flash of fool's gold.