Americana Highways presents this lyric video premiere of John Fusco’s song “Coyote Man,” from his forthcoming album Borderlands. Borderlands will be available on October 21 via Rocket 88 Records. The album was produced, engineered, mixed, arranged and by George Walker Petit, with additional engineering by Ben Collette.
Musicians on the album are John Fusco on vocals, piano and Hammond B3; George Walker Petit on guitar, bass, percussion and ocarina; Russ Lawton on drums; Matthew Backer on slide and dobro; Patrick Richard Ross on fiddle, mandolin and backing vocals; Ashley Betton on backing vocals; Jane Boxall on marimba; Stuart Paton on congas; Connor Young on trumpet; and Michael Hartigan on accordion.
Fusco treats a sobering topic with his raw husky vocal tones and the message is delivered in a perfect storm in this somber moving song. The whole arrangement is darkly compelling.
When I began work on this new album, and I knew that I was going to explore the Southwest, COYOTE MAN emerged as one of the more contemporary and topical songs. I wanted to tell the story of how cartels have moved in on human smuggling, treating migrants as a commodity and causing unspeakable pain to those who are just dreaming of a better life for their families. Not long after the song was recorded, major news headlines broke about 53 migrants dying in a sweltering tractor-trailer in San Antonio. Some might think I wrote this song about that tragedy, but the truth is this cross-border human trafficking is more common than we might believe…
I composed the music on piano, playing in the kind of low-octave minor key that I like to write my swampier stuff in. Was going for a dark, cautionary neo-western vibe. George Walker Petit built on that with his guitar and bass, and leaned into the album’s border motif by weaving in ocarina and mariachi horns (Connor Young) and giving it the feel of a narcocorrido, a subgenre of the narrative ballads heard on both sides of the Mexico-US border. Stuart Paton’s congas and Russ Lawton’s (Trey Anastasio Band) drums drive the song with the kind of urgency the story is about…
Having created many American western movies over the years, I knew what kind of images would marry to the music and lyrics. Dropping in actual news reports from this past June underscores the relevance. — John Fusco
John Fusco Borderlands Pre-Order Links: https://lnk.fu.ga/johnfusco_borderlands
Enjoy our earlier coverage of John here: REVIEW: John Fusco & The Road Riders’ “John the Revelator” Double Album is Swampy, Eerie, Humid Tones