The band was born when founding members Mark Bertel (Percussion), Chris Royer (Guitar), and Jacob Lane (Guitar) discovered Jordan Finley (Bass, Vocals) at the Baxter County Fair in Mountain Home, AR. After many long nights of jamming to the sound of yipping coyotes under the Ozark night sky, the four quickly became very close friends and a well oiled machine and thus spawned the name, “Coyote Union.” Later the band found Wes Dorethy (Vocals, Violin, Mandolin, and Piano) to round out their signature prodigious “Folk n’ Roll” sound. After playing with Wes and being spoiled by the smile jerking sound and style of the way he played the four knew they had found the last piece of the puzzle and it was pure magic. Eventually Royer and Lane left the band and they were replaced by Geoffrey Watts (Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals and Keys). After a year of playing with Geoff, he had to leave the band to focus on other things. That's when Wes, Mark, and Jordan decided from now on they would be a 3 piece band and feature friends and musicians on the road.
In the early days, the band would practice in a secluded barn, deep in the Arkansas wilderness. The band continued to grow and with two EP’s under their belt as well as many live performances, the group moved their home stomping ground from the barn to a local abandoned bowling alley once called, “River Lake Lanes.” With a little bit of elbow grease and know how they fixed it up and built a stage on the very lanes that had the vintage building running in its hay day.
Coyote Union’s sound is the culmination of their influences and experiences, drawing from the down home roots and punk-rock sensibility and need to create deep connections. Their style is a melting pot of rock, punk, blues, folk, Americana and a touch of classical and grunge, but no matter what the style, they always play from the heart. Rather than writing hits, Coyote Union’s aim is to reach people that need to hear their songs for inspiration, and to help them through the down times, writing about love, anger, passion, conquering, accomplishment, triumph, sadness and sorrow. Both their dynamic music and deeply moving lyrics take listeners on an emotional roller coaster and pull on the heart strings. For example, the song “Bones” tells a tale of heartbreak. Bertel elaborates saying, “ When you love someone you really feel it in your bones, in the deepest part of your body. You feel it more intensely than any other feeling, but eventually resolves in moving on and overcoming the strife.” Another song, “Teardrop River,” is an coming of age story of empowerment. “It's easy to lay down, take the easy way and live a mediocre life without fulfillment. It's the people that take the hard way that we like, that go above the norm and do the unexpected.” Bertels explains. Coyote Union hopes to reach as many people as they possibly can leaving a deep legacy behind. Not for the fame or the money, but for the interaction with the people.
Coyote Union has graced stages across the country and at festivals including Wakarusa and Harvest Festival AR, and have embarked on an 12-date tour of Europe including Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and Austria in the Fall of 2014. Their first full-length self-titled album is due out in early 2015.