Coyote

Lyrics: Elliott Peck
Music: Elliott Peck

Phil Lesh sat in in June 2021 when Midnight North played this single from their album "There's Always A Story". Any help with the lyrics gratefully received.

Tears dry quickly in the beating sun
Your eyes look tired, but you're not the only one
This run's over, what's your next move
Caught between the darkness and the shadows of the moon

Did you walk. did you run, through this border town
Did you breathe with relief when you felt your feet leave the ground
Oh Coyote, was there a better way out
Did you stumble in the grass and the gravel and doubt
Oh Coyote, from the love of a friend
What is for [frisking] for the making of amends

Flies blind me, the dust won't settle down
Your heart beat won't slow to pass through this town
This run's over while you barely got through
Asked for escape and laid their burdens on you

Did you walk. did you run, through this border town
Did you breathe with relief when you felt your feet leave the ground
Oh Coyote, how did you ever get through
[With your eyes and intentions are standing on you]
The bones of your failures are now dust on the road
You swore this was the last time you'd sell them your soul

Coyote
Coyote
Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2021 There's Always A Story Midnight North

Elliott Peck gave this account of writing the song:
"I wrote the beginning lyrics for Coyote while on a cross country flight last year, when life was busy and there was rarely a day off to spend home writing. I was looking out the airplane window thinking about Joni Mitchell’s song Coyote, and the imagery and storyline of one of my favorite songs of her’s. I was also thinking about what the word ‘Coyote’ meant in a different context, one that touches on the current events on our US border, and the families and children who are deeply tangled in the mess of our immigration system.

"As a former English as a Second Language teacher in the Mission district of San Francisco, I witnessed countless children arriving on the steps of our school unaccompanied, with only the clothes on their backs and needing the most basic essentials. They had come from long distances to find safety and opportunity, but lived in fear of deportation, poverty, and of creating a life in a new country alone.

"This song touches on the illusive middle man in the equation, the Coyote, who has accepted the danger and responsibility of bringing people across the border for payment. It also brings to mind a question I have long wrestled with as a teacher and advocate for migrant children & families:

"Are we truly afraid, in this great country of prosperity and wealth, that we do not have enough to share with our neighbors, simply because they are not the ones that live next door but on the other side of an invisible line? I realize the issue is complex and there is no easy solution, but I do know things have not improved in many years, and we can do better. I plan to donate my portion of sales from this song to: KIND – Kids in Need of Defense, a non profit organization that supports & ensures children’s rights and well-being are protected as they migrate alone in search of safety.

"I knew the music for this song had to match the intensity and sensitivity of the lyrics. So I asked my dear friend & colleague Jason Crosby to help arrange a string section for the song that would provide that. Jason coordinated the connection with Dave Eggar to create the cello section, while adding the moving violin parts layered on top.

"I cried the first time I heard the final string arrangement, I instantly knew it was perfect and so beautifully helped tell the story of this song. My bandmates brought a gorgeous feel & simplicity to the recording, and Grahame, Nathan, & guest vocalists Allison Russell & JT Nero’s harmonies give the song an otherworldly quality. I feel the music supports and showcases the message of the song, and I hope that it elicits thoughts, feelings, conversation and action."

 


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