Any new release of Rick Deitrick’s music is worth celebrating, yet Coyote Canyon is one of those rare archival compilations of unreleased music that is just as essential as an original album.
Deitrick, who came to light as a result of being included in Tompkins Square’s infamous eighth volume of their Imaginational Anthem series, which focused on private press solo guitar music, has been a fiercely original and unorthodox musician for well over the last 50 years. On this and his previous two records (both also available from Tompkins Square—1978’s classic privately-pressed Gentle Wilderness and the River Sun River Moon rarities collection), Deitrick proves himself to be an intuitive and inventive fingerpicker that deserves to be studied and analyzed just as much as his more well-known contemporaries.
On songs like the unpredictable “Tumbleweedin,'” Deitrick plays his instrument with the loose cadence and slapdash energy that one observes in nature (in this specific case, the movements and sudden stops of a tuft of tumbleweed rolling across the landscape). He intentionally avoids the folk and blues influences that dominated solo guitar music of the time, and opts to instead find the patterns, hints of melodies and lyrical phrases in the earth’s natural forces. Then translate them beautifully through his elegant fingerpicking.
Deitrick also employs this elemental approach to composing and playing when he tries to express his rawest emotions, like the mournful “Roy’s Rain,” of which he wrote for a friend that died tragically in a car accident. He plays as though the strings on his instrument are an extension of his wounded soul.
If records by Eli Winter, Daniel Bachman and Chris Corsano have been getting plenty of time on your turntable lately, then you need to get this album when Tompkins Square releases it this Friday. Do not miss out! Click here to preorder it from Bandcamp and click here to preorder it straight from the label’s website.