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The Wheel Release ”Coyote Mask”

Exploding out of the underground scene and onto American shores is an electrifying artist by the name of The Wheel, whose new single ”Coyote Mask” has got critics and fans of trending new folk buzzing with excitement. It’s certainly been a long road for this artist from humble beginnings to now reaching an audience on the international level, but in “Coyote Mask,” he proves that not only has he grown into his persona, but he’s ready to take his style to the next level for all of the world to enjoy.

I’ve always been a little more than hesitant about endorsing folk singers when they’ve had a limited output and no chance to demonstrate how far they can push the envelope as a performer, but I’m willing to make an exception with The Wheel for a very particular reason. “Coyote Mask” alludes to a certain sensuously dark yet open and freewheeling spirit that reminds me a lot of two artists in particular: Neil Young and Jim Clements. Like Clements, you can hear his heart when he sings, to the point where I’m convinced he could sing you a recipe for how to make spaghetti and it would come out sounding like straight gold. He’s genuine in the way he reaches out to you and vividly describes the thoughts and emotions that are rushing through his mind at a seemingly endless rate, and in that, he seems vulnerable, and approachable even. And then you’ve got his music.

The Wheel’s instrumental parts on “Coyote Mask” are nothing short of Americana-influenced experimentalism at its finest. I know that a lot of my contemporaries have been trying to convince me that existentialism in music is making a really big comeback right now, even in singer/songwriter circles and broader folk, but it took listening to this track to be convinced of how right they’ve been. And to take it even a step further, I think this is a really good direction for those genres, both of which I’ve heard more complaints about in the last two years than on any other front of music.

The most common gripe is that all of the artists sound the same and all of them lack any sort of real, legitimate authenticity. It’s no surprise that even hardcore fans are feeling left out in the cold right now when the establishment in New York and Los Angeles has been completely content with distributing less than organic content for the last fifteen years. It’s easy to buy into the pessimism, but when listening to a player of this caliber, hope can be rekindled for the desperate fans among us.

While it’s far too soon to determine whether or not his scene will save singer/songwriters from hipster latencies, one thing that we can all agree on is that The Wheel is making some of the most original and compelling contributions to the genre that we’ve heard in the last couple of months. He’s got my attention, and I for one cannot wait to see where he goes with his work next.

Mindy McCall



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