The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

The desert was a vast and emotionless place; one that exists, seemingly, only in a dream. As the gunslinger gave chase, the desert stretched on for miles until, suddenly, the sound of music could be heard. His ears perked up. He hadn’t heard any sound, save for the whistle of the wind and beat of his heart, for days.

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He followed the sound, almost as if it was beckoning him, like a lover at midnight. Soon, the desert started to disappear. In its place stood a city; a community. All around were traces of civility that the gunslinger had long thought were abandoned. Not here, though. Here, it looked as though the city was thriving. There were businesses with their doors open, restaurants exuding the scent of breads and meats and cheeses. And there were people!

People of all ages, backgrounds and color lined the streets. They were smiling, laughing, clapping their hands. This was not the desert that the gunslinger knew. This was not even the world that the gunslinger knew. This was a thriving district and it was one he wanted to station himself in for as long as he could.

Then, as if the universe were reading his thoughts, the gunslinger bore witness to an old tavern, illuminated only by gaslight. He entered the establishment and took a seat at the bar. The gunslinger reached into his pocket and pulled out a gold coin. He gently set it on the bar and asked the bartender for a beer. The gunslinger was weary and he was thirsty and this was where he would set himself for the time being.

“You’re new to these parts,” the bartender said. It wasn’t a question.

“I am,” replied the gunslinger.

“Have you heard the stories?” the bartender asked.

“The stories?”

The bartender nodded, solemnly. “The stories of Casper. Everybody here has a story to tell.”

The bartender nodded towards a group of men, some of whom were holding what looked to be guitars. The gunslinger followed his gaze and cast his eyes upon these men.

“Like them,” the bartender stated. “That is The Last Coyote.”

“The Last Coyote?” the gunslinger repeated.

The bartender nodded. “Make yourself comfortable,” he said. “I’m going to tell you a story.”

 It started many years ago, in the town of Laramie. Two friends would come together after a night of drinking and they would play music. What started as a way to pass the time and welcome the hangover soon turned into something a bit more serious.

“We always talked about getting together formally and doing something with it but we never did,” said lead singer and bass player, Dustin Neal. “Years later, we found ourselves in Casper and we met up with Dino Madsen who introduced us to some guys he was jamming with, and we thought, ‘this might be the time to actually try it out and see.’”

The time was nigh and, soon, Neal and his friend Matt Wood joined forces with Madsen, and Sean Peverly. Together they formed The Last Coyote, a self-described “Alt-Western”™ band that combines folk, punk and ‘outlaw country.’

“Wyoming sounds,” Neal clarified.

Those sounds have been heard all throughout Casper and beyond. The Last Coyote has played at Frosty’s Bar & Grill, Urban Bottle, the David Street Station, Metro Coffee Co. and more. On Saturday, they will bring their music to Oil City Beer Company, for the grand opening of I' Scream 4 Wings and Other Things, "Casper's Only Indoor Food Truck."

From 7-10 p.m., The Last Coyote will be offering their sounds while Oil City Beer Company offers brews, pizza, wings, and more. They're even offering commemorative beer glasses, I' Scream work shirts, and various food and drink specials. Oil City Beer Company has hosted numerous bands throughout their existence, fully cementing how many chances to hear live music Casper truly offers.

“Casper is the place to be for live music,” Neal said. “It's just all over and around every corner, especially downtown. Yellowstone Garage has been a major player in pushing live music in the area. John Huff and his crew take a major credit for helping make this scene come alive.”

There are a number of incredible venues in Casper but, without the talent of the people involved, those venues would merely stand as deserted buildings; dark towers without a hint of the magic and beauty that they now convey. From the business owners themselves, to the cooks, the bartenders, the sales associates and, especially, the artists and musicians- everybody involved in this 'New Casper' is determined to turn it into a real beacon, full of music and light.

The Last Coyote is just one of the bands that provide Casper with its Songs of Susannah. Other bands and musicians, like Speed the Pilgrim, Zach Schommer, Mastermind of Monkey, Jeff Stanley, Chad Lore and more have really provided a soundtrack to the city.

“Right now is a great time to be a musician,” Neal stated. “Casper offers many venue opportunities and Casper [citizens are] down there having fun. You can pop in and see a few shows over a weekend and it’s all within walking distance. The culture of the area is appealing to us as a band.”

It was not just the culture of the area, but the culture of the people of Wyoming as a whole that first inspired the songs of The Last Coyote.

“Our music is about Wyoming- the people, the places, and the way of life,” Neal emphasized. “In all of our songs are little snippets that allude to that. We're not a cover band. We write all our own music and we just want to share a little bit of what we do with anyone who will listen.”

There are many people who like to listen, causing The Last Coyote to release 9 albums as-of-date. Their latest album, Amongst the Willows, might just be their best. It’s certainly their most ambitious. But it was their 7th album, Fortune, that acts as almost a musical novel about life, love and losing one’s self to destiny.

“All the songs sort of weave their way together and each one is sort of a premonition of a life that was lived or a fate that could have happened,” Neal admitted. “They are all stories [that] revolve around internal conflict of being one way and wanting something else, or realizing that the choices you've made lead to this consequence at hand and you can't turn back the clock.”

“Our lives are fortunes,” he added.

Fate and fortune are two themes that are explored in The Last Coyote’s 7th album. This is ironic, as it was both of those things that brought The Coyote together in the first place.

As the bartender finished the story, the gunslinger finished his drink. He turned and looked at the men who were holding the instrument. The gunslinger did not know where fate or fortune would lead him. At that moment, he didn’t care. He would stay here, in Casper, for a while. Maybe just a night. He had another beer to drink and a band to listen to.

“I have one more question,” the gunslinger said. “What is the meaning behind their name?”

“Coyotes are sort of that rogue spirit of Wyoming,” the bartender described. “[A coyote is] a predator who hunts solo or in a pack. Hated by ranchers and landowners.They were mischevious and tricksters. Seen as a good sign and something to be respected. It's not the big bad wolf, but it's not some litter vermin either. It rides in the middle of the pack. The Native Americans said that coyotes were the keepers of the magic.”

Magic. That was what the gunslinger had felt when he entered this town. It was what Casper was full of. But he knew he could not stay. He had a date with the man in black.

“Go then,” the bartender said as he took off his apron and picked up a guitar. “There are other worlds than these.”

* All albums available on itunes, google play, amazon, spotify, and all other major streaming services, as well as their website, where they can be purchased digitally.

** The Gunslinger and The Man in Black are characters written by Stephen King and are in no way a creation of K2 Radio News or its writers. Any use of their likeness is solely for entertainment purposes.

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