Artist: Kristin Hersh
Album: Wyatt at the Coyote Palace
Label: Omnibus Press
Release Date: 11/11/2016
Throwing Muses is one of those stunning bands you stumble upon unexpectedly (for me it was in 1989 when they opened for R.E.M. during their Green tour) and then excitedly purchase every album you can find– the perfect late-night outlet when cramming for those college art history tests. Founder Kristin Hersh started Throwing Muses when she was only 14, and her creative drive and vision has not faltered since then, but has become a powerful confessional of personal experiences challenged by addiction, mental illness, divorce and tragic accidents.
Wyatt At The Coyote Palace is Hersh’s third release in the combination book/CD format. It’s a collection of true stories and songs about love, suffering and hope, punctuated by Hersh’s unique sense of humor and raw frankness. They were written over a rough five year period of Hersh’s life, while the title refers to her son Wyatt, who is on the autism spectrum, and had a deep fascination with an abandoned apartment building inhabited by coyotes.
Several tracks have a dream-like atmospheric quality to them, and the field recordings, such as rain and water splashing, are haunting and breathtaking. References to storms and alcohol are abundant, but mentions of Frank Capra and a recipe of Hooker Gazpacho are unexpected and charming.
In the companion book, after each lyric are commentaries and stories relating to each song. “In Stitches” recalls the time Hersh plugged her electric guitar into an amp and electrocuted herself when her lips touched the microphone. When accused by a bandmate of speaking in metaphors after this occurrence, Hersh calmly replies “I never speak metaphorically. You don’t have to. Anyways, adrenaline knocked entire days outta my head. True story.”
How one reacts to adversity and tragedy help define us. Hersh heroically shows that she has faith in herself to rise above her challenges. She has something to say and boy, does she say it poetically and profoundly. We should all take a moment to listen.