Duz Mancini looks to the future but remembers square one.

coyotes photo by greg miles
Coyotes' Duz Mancini, by Greg Miles

Duz Mancini was the last band member standing. Local indie-Americana band Coyotes had been around since 2010 and played Voodoo, Buku, and countless club dates, but only Mancini was left and he was back to square one, booking his own gigs, and deciding what comes next.

Mancini resolved to continue writing music, and after drawing on local talents, Derrick Duplessie and Chris Littlejohn, he found himself with a re-imagination of a band that had once been nothing more than a folk-mariachi project. Mancini’s belief in his music’s durability fuels his persistence, and he believes “a song should be built to last. I ask myself, Will this be good in 5 years? If so, we will showcase it live. Then we can determine whether or not it will make it to the catalogue.”

Duplessie notes that he and Mancini come from an area of California that values alternative country music, and sustains “a tradition of country rock from the '60s and '70s.” That has driven the focus on thumping drum beats, distinctive pedal steel guitar, and acoustic electric guitars that distinguish the group and create a strong Americana appeal. On stage Coyotes puts on a rousing show, but behind the scenes Mancini is meticulous, producing the band's music with Duplessie and revisiting songs again and again..

“The studio is like an instrument that gives you total control," he says.

On Saturday, Coyotes will close the Lagniappe Stage at 5:20 p.m. at Jazz Fest. Looking back, Mancini mused, “Dude, where I was a year ago, it was scary. Fortunately the right people were there at the right time and I hadn’t stopped writing songs, so for me, its been a really gratifying experience to be able to play again, and I feel like I can’t, I won’t, let it get away from me this time.”