JESSI WILLIAMS & COYOTE(pronounced Kye-Oat)–the Los Angeles-based Americana group led by singer, songwriter and musician Jessi Williams–today (5/31) have partnered with Cowboys & Indians to premiere “Roam, Little Gypsy, Roam,” marking the debut single from their forthcoming five-song EP due out this fall. Click here to listen to the song that’s set for public release tomorrow, June 1.
Set to a lulling piano and twangy guitar, the moody waltz–penned by Williamsfor her fellow country songstress, and friend, Margo Price—“Roam, Little Gypsy, Roam” features biting lyrics examining the pressures and expectations faced when transitioning from a young, free-spirited woman to a wife and mother.
“When I lived in Nashville, Margo and I would frequently get together to drink, smoke, and play Nirvana or Dylan songs in her basement,” says Williams,who splits her time with another band, The Loney Wild. “We were a little wild back then, so these nights felt pretty tame to us. When I got pregnant and moved to Kansas, my life was strikingly different than the life I’d been living. Margo wrote a song for me called ‘The Ballad of Jessi Williams.’ I remember it had a great line about trading cigarettes for apron strings. When Margo got married and subsequently pregnant with her boys a few years later, I wrote ‘Roam, Little Gypsy, Roam’ as a response song. She’s heard it and is really supportive of this release.”
Born and raised surrounded by cornfields in southern Indiana,COYOTE‘s songwriter and rhythm guitarist, Jessi Williams, is no stranger to country and bluegrass music. At 14, Williams hid in her bedroom studying the Neil Young guitar songbook, while her parents hosted regular “pickin’ parties” in her old farmhouse kitchen. While, at the time, her interest in the bluegrass genre may have taken a backseat to her love of ’60s & ’70s rock and Motown, it’s has always been a prominent style in her songwriting.
In 2008 Jessi moved to Los Angeles with her two-year-old daughter while her now-ex, husband was fighting in the Iraq war. As an outlet for her frustrations as a military wife and single mom, Jessi flooded her notebooks with stories of personal woe and folkloric interpretations of the world. Guitar in hand, she took to the stages of dive bars and coffee shops where she met Chris Sousa(bass), Robin Harris (guitar), former member Adrian Prohaska (mandolin), and Conan Skyrme (drums). Through their mutual adoration of folk music, thefive-piecefolk rock band known as “Coyote” (pronounced Kye-Oat) was born. Eventually, Coyote found themselves in the live room of the historic East West Studios–home of The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. There, they laid down eight tracks and prepared for their first release. However, around the same time, Jessi was touring with spaghetti-western-influenced folk rock band, The Lonely Wild. Balancing a demanding tour schedule, a day job, motherhood, spread her too thin and she was forced to put Coyote on a hiatus.
All the while the songs still came….
Now reemerging in 2018 as Jessi Williams and Coyote, the group, with The Lonely Wild member Ryan Ross joining, have new songs in the works and are blowing the dust off of tunes that, like a bottle of wine–and all good old country songs–have ripened beautifully with age.