When January 2013 rolled in, it had been 11 years since I had played with the COYOTE BLUE Band back in Nashville in 2002. Since then I had been going solo, playing acoustic guitar and singing. I was now living just outside of Philadelphia PA, and I had recently jammed with a friend of mine at a party with several other music enthusiasts. He was asked to pull together a band for a show in Florida and he gave me a call and asked if I would help put a performance together. We were able to find some like minded individuals, and we did a rehearsal in a small group before we headed down south to meet up with some six or seven additional folks that wanted in on the fun. And it was a lot of fun!
Our performance was initially intended to be a one night show, but after the first night, word got out and we were asked to do a second show, two nights later. I will admit, the first night felt like work. We barely pulled everything together. You can see in the picture above how intensely I was studying the music during one of the songs that we played that first night. I was much more comfortable with everything – the songs, the band, and my playing – during our performance the second night.
Our drummer Mike, bass player Ron, acoustic guitarist Ronan, and I (on electric guitar) were the core of the band and we worked to keep things tight, and together. And it worked. It really did. We had a good cast of vocalists, and a pretty good selection of songs. We played songs from Huey Lewis, Bruce Springsteen, Creedence, Pat Benatar, the Eagles, and several others that I can’t recall. The 2nd night, when we finished, the crowd wanted more. So in a pinch we threw in La Bamba, and then followed it up with Johnny Be Goode. Right before we did Johnny Be Goode, I broke a string on my Les Paul, and I had to go to a back up guitar that the production company provided, a black American Standard Strat with a rosewood fretboard. Nonetheless, it was fun playing Johnny Be Goode again, and it definitely got the crowd up on their feet. Johnny Be Goode has always been one of my favorite songs since I was a kid.
This was the beginning of something special that I was able to enjoy for several years. Even though we only played together a couple of times a year a year, we evolved as a group and stretched ourselves to make each of those performances a fun and lasting memory.
— Mark Salyers