After years of playing in rock and metal bands, guitarist McCoy Tyler decided to pursue his own sound. “I had a vision in my head of something a little more roots- and acoustic-based,” he says. His new trio, The McCoy Tyler Band, is the realization of that vision. And though the project is extremely young—a mere four months—the band already has a well-developed sound, an EP called What the Mountains Have Seen, a backlog of all new material ready to take on tour, and a definite direction: keep it simple and sweet. To achieve its signature sound, the band incorporates a slightly unusual set of instrumentation for folk: a small drum set, an upright bass, a lone guitar, and subtle use of acoustic amplification. Tyler admits the instrumentation choice was difficult, but worth the challenge, “one thing that was a concern to me, [was] how to incorporate a drum kit into the style of music and songs that I was writing … but a full band has more presence, and to have an upright bass makes us feel more legit.” Each member brings his own expertise to the mix, combining the accessibility of folk with the driving sound of a full band. Drummer James Brown’s laid back beats move masterfully without overpowering the other acoustic instruments, and Chad Bowen—a Cabrillo College music student—thumps thick notes on bass, while Tyler’s delicate guitar arrangements hover over their harmonized vocals. After cutting their teeth on live radio broadcasts, the trio is ready to tour locally in support of their EP. Their first-ever live show will be at The Ugly Mug this Friday. When asked about their new material, Tyler says “I’m really excited about the new stuff we’re coming up with,” and teased that the new songs, “can only be found at the shows.”
INFO: 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. Ugly Mug, 4640 Soquel Drive, Soquel. No Cover. 477-1341.