As the late George Harrison once said in one of his best-known songs, “All Things Must Pass.” As great as they were, The Beatles went their separate ways in 1970. Each went on to have solo careers and play with other musicians.
Artists need change once in a while to expand their horizons. So it is with Glenn Houston and Stevie Coyle, known collectively as The Quitters. The “High Octane Americana” duo will be performing at 7 p.m. Friday, June 8 at Fiddlers Crossing.
Both men were founding members of The Waybacks, a very popular San Francisco-based Americana band formed back in 1998 that was, and still is, extremely popular on the festival circuit and at premier venues around the country. Stevie Coyle played rhythm guitar and sang with the band until 2007. Glenn Houston was the lead guitarist through 1999. In 2001 he joined Travis Jones, Chris Kee, Peter Tucker and Henry Salvia to create Houston Jones, like the Waybacks, a very popular West Coast Americana band. The band twice played Mama Hillybean’s, here in Tehachapi, between 2007 and 2009. Houston and Travis Jones played Fiddlers Crossing as a duo in 2015.
Glenn Houston has been voted Best Guitarist by the Northern California Bluegrass Society and has also won a Bay Area Music Award as a founding member of Hearts on Fire. He has shared the stage with the likes of Emmy-Lou Harris, Merle Haggard, The David Grisman Quintet, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bela Fleck, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, to name a few.
Originally from New Jersey, his influences range from Albert King and Michael Bloomfield to Doc Watson and James Burton. These influences show in his well-balanced mastery of both acoustic and electric guitar. His classical music background includes choral vocal performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and The Boston Symphony. In recent years, he has performed and recorded with Grammy winner Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and blues legends Mark Naftalin and Nick Gravenites in tribute to blues great Michael Bloomfield.
Stevie Coyle grew up in Southern California with music all around him. His father owned a Spanish-language radio station and brought home all the records that didn’t fit the format to his son. At a tender age he was listening to The Ventures’ “Guitar Freakout,” “The 50 Guitars of Tommy Garrett,” even “Alvin and the Chipmunks Play the Beatles Hits.”
It also didn’t hurt that string-meister David Lindley (lead guitarist for Jackson Browne in the 1970s) played in a bluegrass band that rehearsed next door and gave Stevie his first lessons or that his grandmother was a pianist in the heyday of vaudeville and that his mother played in mandolin orchestras in the 1920s.
In high school he started fingerpicking his guitar, influenced by the first Hot Tuna album. In addition to his work with The Waybacks, he has also worked closely over the past 25 years, with musical satirist, Roy Zimmerman, including the Folk tribute parody band, The Foremen and comedy duo, The Reagan Brothers. Coyle spent time in folk duos, The Frontmen and The Back Room boys before co-founding The Waybacks in 1998.
He’s also acted in TV shows such as "Cheers," "The Young and The Restless," not to mention many commercials. In short, Stevie Coyle has been one busy guy over the years. Now, having retired from The Waybacks, he has teamed with his old friend, Glenn Houston, to form, appropriately enough, The Quitters.
Like Lennon and McCartney, Harrison and Starr, Glenn Houston and Stevie Coyle each left their respective bands, after many years, to join each other onstage. It’s often said, “Every ending is a new beginning.” While the departure of each signaled the end of a musical era, the pairing of Houston and Coyle is the beginning of a new and exciting one for them and, certainly, for audiences everywhere. The Quitters will join us here, at Fiddlers Crossing, on June 8 and it is sure to be an evening to be remembered.
Fiddlers Crossing is at 206 E. F St. at Robinson Street, in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased next door at Mountain Music, at Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, and Lucky’s Barbershop, or online through Fiddlerscrossing.com. Tickets to the concert are $20, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
On the horizon: Roy Zimmerman, Jackie Bristow, S.E.A with Steve Eulberg, Amber Cross
Peter Cutler is an audio engineer-producer, singer and guitarist. A native of Los Angeles, he has lived in Tehachapi since 2006.