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The Stone Coyotes

The world of rock 'n' roll perfected a ruthless form of ageism long before the practice became the bane of the rest of America's workplaces. This rule of arthritic thumb dictates that once you've moved on from Clearasil to Monoxodil, you're expected either to keep rehashing the songs from your youth or fade from the scene entirely.

Fortunately 62-year-old Stone Coyotes frontwoman Barbara Keith thumbs her nose at this stereotype. On Born to Howl, the Coyotes (Keith, husband-bassist John Tibbles, and stepson-drummer Doug Tibbles) deliver potent, straightarrow rock 'n' roll in a way that's not so much weakened with age as it is strengthened with experience. Keith's vocal and guitar styles put Sheryl Crow to shame on hard-edged songs such as "Bound to Burn" and "American Child," where she lets it be known that "Some of these new boys/They say they want to fight/But it takes them three days/ To get the drum sound right."

Waves of rumbling bass and guitar reverb wash over steadfast drums on "Four Times Gone," while "Death of the American Song" pays tribute to the good old days: "The radio is playing/Got the latest top ten on/The kind you hear today/That you know tomorrow will be gone." The piano-laced "Detroit or Buffalo," penned in 1972, is a flashback to Keith's early, folksy side, while "The First Lady of Rock" bears a similarity to a slow train that still keeps a-rollin'. But make no mistake: This is not Geritol rock by any means. A lot of young whippersnappers can only hope they'll perform with half this energy in their later years.

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Omar Perez

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