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Music is nothing without inspiration.
A musician is not an island. When you pick up a guitar or sit at a piano, you canít help but reproduce some of the sounds that you hear. Or you put music to things that you see. Inspiration doesnít always have to be acoustic, it can also be based on other sensual experiences. At any rate, there is always something that surrounds you and that will leave a trace in the sounds that you create.

In the case of coyote collective, acoustic influences can quite easily be identified. The most important one is certainly Mark Knopfler. In 1988, the Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert was televised all over the world. Fairly late at night in Western Europe, it must have been around 10 pm, the Dire Straits were scheduled to come on stage. And so they did. Before that moment, I had owned the Brothers In Arms LP, had enjoyed the magnificent guitar riff at the culmination point of Money For Nothing, or listened to some friendís tape of the first studio album. But what I saw that night was really beyond belief. There was a man getting melodies, sounds and voices from an electric guitar that seemed to speak volumes to me. A band leader who seemed to be the epitomy of cool in front of millions of people the world over. There was a band that could afford to have a visibly relaxed Eric Clapton on rhythm guitar. There were sounds and sights that touched me at the center of my heart and soul. I was hooked. And still am today.

But you can listen to exclusively one man and his band for a given period of time only. Then other influences come around. Pink Floyd / Roger Waters played their part in providing a musical education. Interestingly, it werenít so much the early albums that were important, but particularly the later stuff.

Then, there was the Blues. Die-hard acoustic field hollering styles have not yet worked their magic to the fullest extent. But undoubtedly even I find that Mississippi John Hurt or Lightniní Hopkins are way cool. Somehow, the blues donít seem to come directly, they tend to take a detour via my esteemed colleague and soulmate Bones, who is always an inspiring source for musical, political and all other types of ideas.

One of these ideas being Bob Dylan. It is hardly possible to overestimate the artistic and cultural importance of this man. (Even though some of the Dylan Ayatollahs seem to be pushing things. Maybe they should try to rather have lives of their own...) He also turned me on to the almighty Johnny Cash - in particular to the American Recordings. And I should certainly not exclude Leonard Cohen. I used to think he was a cynical grumpy old man - and later learned from a TV special that he is actually quite a warm gentle person.

I really like a couple of French musicians, Jean-Jaques Goldman and Francis Cabrel. I know that in France, the former has a reputation for being a children-silly-pop-song-writer, and that the latter is sometimes seen as an outdated romance singer from the South, but I donít really care. I like some of the things they do.

When it comes to slide guitar, a secret unreturned love..., three heroes come to mind: Ry Cooder, Jerry Douglas and Sonny Landreth.

Then, two hard rocking bands should not be forgotten: Thin Lizzy - Phil Lynott was a true genius and I really like some of the things that he did, particularly when working with his long-time companion Gary Moore. The other one: The Scorpions. Yes. Lately, really uninteresting pop. But back in the Eighties, "World Wide Live" was cool.

A great American singer/songwriter is also part of this little collection: Billy Joel, even though, to this day, I am not sure how to pronounce his last name.

Who else was or is important? Paul Simon, J.J. Cale, Ennio Morricone, Van Halen, Marc Cohn, Santana - there are just so many great ones out there...
© M. Oetting, 2003