Jim Sobo is a career kick-starter. The musician and promoter, one time kicking around Los Angeles but now around Arizona, is the kind of promoter who likes to get unknown talent in front of as many music fans as he can. It’s why he started the Howling Coyote Tour close to 20 years ago, all so he could hype musicians he refers to as “people with the whole package.”
The Howling Coyote Tour this year features singer songwriters Sean Patrick McDermott and Nick Canuel, and will roll through the region next week with shows June 1 at 11th Street Station; June 2 at The Nuggett Mountain Bar; June 3 at The Fenceline Cidery in Mancos; and closing out June 4 at Motel Soco in Pagosa Springs.
“It was 2005 and started taking two artists per year, along with myself as host and emcee of the show, on the road and we go throughout Southern and Northern California on an annual basis, and I showcase them to try to introduce them to a larger fan base, give them some of the contacts I’ve made over the years, giving them booking opportunities, showing how to communicate with press, and possibly get management, how to record properly so they can become a recording artist, and take advantage of the DIY scene,” Sobo said. “So did that for the last 18 years, now branching off into Colorado.”
WHAT: Howling Coyote Tour with Sean Patrick McDermott and Nick Canuel.
WHEN: June1-4 at local and regional venues.
WHERE: 11th St Station, Nuggett Mountain Bar, Fenceline Cidery, Motel Soco.
MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.howlingcoyotetour.com.
Sobo started working with both McDermott and Canuel in 2009. He convinced them to partake in a show he was promoting, and the rest, as they say, is musical history.
“We were told it was an open-mic thing and they needed people to sign up, and we did, and we won,” Canuel said. “After the fact Jim was like, ‘Hey, I’m taking you to California because that’s what this was all about.’”
Musically, both Canuel and McDermott fit into the singer-songwriter rock ’n’ roll void. They can play songs quiet and urgent, or at times a bit more upbeat. It’s a reflection of a life lived ingesting as much music as you are playing it.
This show is not a competition, with one opening over the other. They’re both on stage swapping songs, like musical pals.
“For me there’s two things,” McDermott said. “One, it takes a lot of energy to perform, especially if you’re the only guy on the stage. When you can use somebody else’s energy and bounce back and forth, and almost take a break once in a while and let them really come forward. It gives you a lot of endurance that you might now otherwise have. The second part is we can cover a whole lot of ground between the two of us because of the way that we do that musically, in terms of the things that we cover, genre and time wise. I mean, Nic knows an incredible amount of music from the ’60s and ’70s, and I know some modern music. Both of us know plenty of other stuff as well that allows us to make a show where we can almost cater to the crowd and make it a request based, ‘Hey what do you guys want to hear?’ So that’s what’s fun for me, and I think it gives us a bit of an edge that way.”
Really, they’re just a couple of buddies playing music together.
“We’re musical partners, but we’re friends first,” Canuel said. “Sean and I lived together for three years, we’ve been buddies since we’ve met. It’s just natural for us to also play music since we were already just friends who got along great. Adding music to it just made us better friends.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.