Track-by-Track: Dylan LeBlanc Unpacks His Own Humanity in ‘Coyote,’ a Cinematic, Cerebral, & Thrilling Concept Album

Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe
Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe
Singer/songwriter Dylan LeBlanc dives into the cinematic depths of his warm and dusty album ‘Coyote,’ a cathartic and captivating seduction of inner reckoning, redemption, and raw humanity in the American Southwest – all channeled through feverish Americana and smoldering, sun-soaked rock.
Stream: “No Promises Broken” – Dylan LeBlanc

What are we searching for in this life? We often know who and what we’re running from, but do we know what we’re running toward? In his new album, singer/songwriter Dylan LeBlanc tells the story of Coyote, a man escaping his dark and troubled past – navigating hardship as it comes and reckoning with his demons along the way. It’s an emotionally charged tale of turmoil and tenacity, pain and perseverance in the American Southwest – and the music feels just as warm and dusty, baked by an unforgiving sun and a dry, heavy heat.

Coyote - Dylan LeBlanc
Coyote – Dylan LeBlanc
Sweep away my ashes
I ain’t the kind that grows old
I’m off to a new land
Gonna steal a rich man’s gold
Gonna take what’s mine
Let Santa Muerte take my soul
– “Coyote,” Dylan LeBlanc

Once on his redemption arc, Coyote knows what he’s trying to get away from – but as LeBlanc so poetically expresses, he doesn’t always know where he’s going. His beacons are love and peace, but following a North Star and living by that star’s principles are two very different things. As one might expect, he takes the long road – a journey full of winding curves and unsavory surprises – as he makes his way toward salvation, which ultimately feels more like a concept than it does a destination.

We never reach “the end” of our roads, either – not in any concrete sense, anyway. Real life doesn’t follow the hero’s journey or any other narrative structure; our stories bleed into one another, and life continues on its merry way regardless of the plot or any morals being reached. Coyote is an extreme example – his life of crime making him a flawed, but nonetheless likeable protagonist with plenty of shortcomings to overcome – and yet he proves the perfect vessel through which to communicate the ebbs and flows of life, and the highs and lows of our universal human experience.

Achingly emotive and stunningly cinematic, Dylan LeBlanc’s Coyote is a cathartic and captivating seduction of raw humanity channeled through feverish Americana and smoldering rock songs. It’s a heated, emotionally charged exploration of connection, desire, hope, and our never-ending search for meaning in this brief, brutal, and beautiful life. We may not all be criminals, but we can all relate to Coyote’s story.

Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe
Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe

And the cycle goes on and on, somebody done somebody wrong. Though the words may change, the headlines stay the same…

Initially released October 20, 2023 via ATO Records (with an expanded edition slated for January 19), Coyote is a spellbinding display of songwriting and storytelling prowess. Dylan LeBlanc calls his fifth studio album a “semi-autobiographical narrative,” not because he’s some renegade outlaw – we swear, he’s not – but because he built Coyote in his image: The titular character, plagued by so many trials and tribulations, serves as LeBlanc’s means of exploring everything from trauma, to love, to the very reasons we choose get up in the mornings.

“My vision was to record an extremely visual and cinematic album, trying to incorporate as much emotional depth and feeling into it as possible,” LeBlanc tells Atwood Magazine. “The story [of this album] is focused mainly on the central character, Coyote. It makes references to life as a drug mule on the border of Mexico and the US. The main theme is defining what breeds someone to feel the need to go to dark places, and what circumstances cause them to go in that direction. It’s mostly their experiences in younger life that shape who they have to become to survive. But ultimately, that’s not sustainable; they have to make a change within.”

Arriving over three years after his last album, Renegade, the wonderfully dramatic Coyote is LeBlanc’s first time self-producing a full-length LP. He recruited an all-star lineup of musicians to help him bring his songs to life, including (but not limited to) drummer Fred Eltringham (Ringo Starr, Sheryl Crow), pianist Jim “Moose” Brown (Bob Seger), and bass player Seth Kaufman (Lana Del Rey).

Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe
Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe

It’s also his first-ever concept album, though he’s dabbled with many of the record’s emotions and philosophical questions in his previous work. “I think [Coyote] has all the elements of my past albums, but is a bit more refined,” he reflects. “The sound of the album and the musicianship are on a higher level. I think I’ve grown a bit as a writer and a player as well.”

LeBlanc candidly describes Coyote as cinematic, cerebral, and thrilling – joking that he referenced a Netflix description in order to narrow down his language. The description feels appropriate, given the intimate, yet breathtaking scope of these songs. As for the title itself, LeBlanc explains, “I just identify with the animal.”

“Coyotes run in packs, but also venture away when there is opportunity. They are scavengers, often scrounging to survive and feeding on anything they can find. They are predators, but also curious creatures — always making daring decisions. They’re very disliked and have a dark ethos in American, Native American, and Mexican cultures. I just find it correlates so well with the character.”

Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe
Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe

Highlights are aplenty and easy to come by across Coyote, starting with the bluesy, fiery folk of the scene-setting title track “Coyote” and the darkly brooding, harmony-rich “Closin’ In.” One of LeBlanc’s favorite moments comes in the chorus of the third track, “Dark Waters”: “If I knew the Holy Father would I be his bastard child? Born where Hell meets high water would he lead me out of these dark waters…” he sings.

“I was thinking of Shreveport, Louisiana where I grew up and how excruciatingly hot it was,” he says of that line and that song. “It’s so far below sea level that the water table line is so high, meaning that any time it rains it causes a flood. I always hated summers as a kid because we would have to spend so much time outside, and it was so damn hot, I felt like we were gonna die. I used to work outside a lot and the heat would get to your head, but I also loved to play in the street when it rained. A lot of kids did that.”

Further memorable moments include the gently driving “Forgotten Things” – a poignant reflection on one’s past, somehow full of both regret and nostalgia – and “Stranger Things,” one of the album’s more hopeful tunes, full of dreamy warmth, and tender reassurance:

We’ll be alright in the end
We can wash it off like an ugly sin
Dark days will come, but let them go
Yeah you’ve been around long enough to know
Stranger things have happened…
Well I used to care what people would think
‘til I realized they were as broken as me
But with an open heart, you can open your mind
It could happen you know, it could be real this time
Stranger things have happened…

The album’s original finale, the smoky, sweltering song “The Outside,” is at once irresistible and jarring: Gorgeously moody sun-soaked rock reminiscent of The Eagles’ album The Long Run serves as the soundtrack to a lover’s reunion, as well as a fugitive’s escapade. “As he makes his way down to Mexico to cross the border, he finds himself stopped at a roadblock late at night in Los Angeles and puts his hand on his gun,” LeBlanc explains. “Coyote is not sure what to do next. The album ends here and leaves you wondering what comes next for Coyote.”

“I love that,” he adds. “I just think it’s a good cliffhanger. It kinda leaves you wondering, but also is a great closer to the album. I wrote that song with my friend Brad Crisler, who is an incredible producer and writer. Musically, I loved the idea. I like how visual it is.”

Davy’s got himself a black Camaro
Tearin’ up and down a canyon road
Tears running down her black mascara
Wondering if she’ll ever see him grow old
These days you can’t be to sentimental
Gotta leave her for’ the sunset gets too hot

You’re on the outside
They spent the night on a west coast highway
Found a quiet little place to hide

He was picturing himself like Brando
She got lost in the fugitive kind
These days you can’t be to continental
Gotta leave her for the truth finally comes to light
Why would you run away in the night?

You’re on the outside
Oh I love the rush, feel it in my blood….
Roadblock on Los Alamitos
Blue lights on the sunset strip
One hand on his steel vaquero
Hoping that he won’t have to fight this time
Here on the outside…

With the release of Coyote’s extended edition, preceded by the song “Let It Rain” at the top of January, LeBlanc adds further color not only to his album, but also to his main character’s story. The new version includes four new, previously unreleased original tracks, alongside five live versions of songs recorded at the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

“I just think the songs are strong,” he smiles. “These are songs that we recorded for the album that just didn’t make the initial release, and so I convinced the label to allow me to release them a little later. I’m really looking forward to these songs getting out into the world and I think they round out Coyote nicely and give it more of a happy ending.”

“I really love ‘Day By Day’ and ‘Angel,’” LeBlanc says of the new material. “They’re the most personal to me. ‘Angel’ is about my daughter and fiancé and just being lucky to have something so great in my life given who I’ve been in the past and knowing I don’t deserve such things, but being grateful to have them none the less. ‘Day By Day’ is just a song about being someone who lives with shame and guilt but pushing through and asking for grace.”

Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe
Dylan LeBlanc © Abraham Rowe

Coyote might not get you any closer to whatever it is you’re searching for in life, but through his breathtaking songwriting and soul-stirring performance, Dylan LeBlanc gets us asking the right questions. Why are we here, and what are we doing with our days? Who are we, and who do we want to be? As we hear Coyote struggle and fumble with his own answers, we realize that there is no simple or straightforward response. The beauty of the human experience lies in its depth, color, and limitless complexity. Like this album’s flawed protagonist, we may yearn for love and long for peace – but each of us is going to follow our own roads, and there’s no telling what we’ll encounter along the way.

For his part, LeBlanc exudes contentment in having brought these human stories to life in cinematic song.

“I just hope listeners enjoy the record sonically and lyrically,” LeBlanc shares. “I hope they’re moved by it, like watching a good movie or something. I love this record and I worked harder on this one probably than any other record. I think people will be able to hear that.”

Experience the full record via our below stream, and peek inside Dylan LeBlanc’s Coyote with Atwood Magazine as he takes us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his fifth studio album!

LeBlanc is set to embark on his headline US tour starting today, January 17. Beginning with shows in New Orleans and Muscle Shoals, the 32-date, coast-to-coast run throughout North America includes stops in Brooklyn, Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles, and will conclude in Austin, Texas in early March. Don’t miss your chance to hear Coyote’s story told live, and be sure to listen to the expanded edition of Coyote upon its release!

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:: stream/purchase Coyote here ::
:: connect with Dylan LeBlanc here ::
Stream: ‘Coyote’ – Dylan LeBlanc

:: Inside Coyote ::

Coyote - Dylan LeBlanc

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This song is the first track on the album and sets the first scene for our main character — a man who is trying to find his way out of poverty and goes to work in the criminal underworld in between the border of the US & Mexico. It sets the scene of the narrative of the album, referencing the narco saint, Santa Muerte.

Closin’ In

In this song, we see Coyote looking back on his life, his choices, and the girl he left behind to pursue his criminal career. It sheds light on how he hopes the alcohol and drugs will ease the pain, but he’s let down each time. As he feels the pressure building up and the stress starts closing in around him, he begins to dream of a way out of the life he chose.

Dark Waters

We see Coyote start trying to find a way out of his criminal lifestyle with pain and a poor conscious getting the better of him. Looking across the empire he has built for himself in the criminal underworld, he feels the sense of incompletion and emptiness within. Coyote finds himself longing for the love he left behind. The chorus of this song refers to his horrible childhood and where he came from. All he had won was an empty kingdom come. I relate to this song, as I always had a guilty conscious as a child.


As Coyote decides to run from his criminal lifestyle, he has all these thoughts about the man he’s become and fears what lies ahead. He’s not sure the danger is worth it. He cannot stop thinking of the woman he left behind, his former lover whom he wants to seek out. This song is Coyote’s explanation of why it couldn’t work between them.

Forgotten Things

I imagine this song as a cut scene to the past. The first verse of this song details Coyote’s childhood and how he went wrong. He could never let go of the bad things that happened to him and never knew how to deal with that — he lost sight of what was real. In the second verse, he reflects on his former lover: how things ended and how he still cannot forget her. He decides to leave and go in search of her to win her back.

No Promises Broken

As Coyote finds his true love, he does everything he can to regain her trust and woo her back, but this time in a more honest way. He doesn’t promise her it will be easy, but he will do anything to be with her. He will no longer leave her with broken promises and a broken heart. Though the journey together is dangerous, they vow to see it through.

Stranger Things

This song is from the point of view of Coyote’s lover as they run from his past together. She reassures him that they will make it out, that everything will be okay as long as they’re together. In the second verse, Coyote grapples with the thought of living a normal life — is that something he’s even capable of? This is one of my favorite songs on the album because it has a message of hope, which should never be underestimated.


This is the point of the album where things get bad again. He secretly will always long for the life he lived before, but he knows it’s a part of him that must die. He’s willing to fight — for his freedom and to be with his lover — but will have to face his internal demons and the demons from his criminal past before that can be a possibility. In retrospect, this song is about how everyone in this life — no matter their circumstances — inescapably gets a taste of hate.

The Crowd Goes Wild

This song zooms out of the story and explains how people through the ages have a love affair with seeing their fellow man get torn apart. The system is designed and rigged against those less fortunate, and it’s hard to escape poor circumstance that one is born into. This is relative to Coyote’s story as he was born poor in Mexico.

The Wicked Kind

This is where Coyote gets thrown into an American prison and must survive. He’s aware that he will likely have to fight in prison, so he goes his own way and keeps to himself. He hopes his old associates won’t find out he’s been locked up on the other side of the border. Knowing that he’s no better than these old associates, he finds a way to break out.


After Coyote breaks out of prison in Texas, he’s once again separated from his lover. He flees wherever the wind takes him and winds up going on a week-long bender in Telluride, Colorado. Hearing of an opportunity to make some money, he meets with a prostitute in Telluride who hatches a plan that can help them both out and possibly change their circumstances. Knowing he has to stay on the run, he vows to find his love again and take her with him.

Human Kind

This song is about human nature and the importance people place on superficial things like money, wealth, God, and material things. In Coyote’s case, he feels the need to always watch his back. The song explains why Coyote did what he did and why he feels the need to move away from it all, find a new direction, and forgive himself before he can forgive others. Understanding what’s wrong with Coyote is what’s wrong with everyone, just on different levels. He feels the need for more. This song is a moment of clarity for Coyote on the album.

The Outside

This is the final track and where we meet Coyote’s lover once more. After rekindling their romance and finding their way back to each other, they both must go on the run. Knowing he can’t go back to prison, he steals a black Camaro from a teenager in the canyons and sets off as a fugitive with his lover. As he makes his way down to Mexico to cross the border, he finds himself stopped at a roadblock late at night in Los Angeles and puts his hand on his gun. Coyote is not sure what to do next. The album ends here and leaves you wondering what comes next for Coyote.

Let It Rain

A love song about doing nothing with the one you love.


Written for my daughter and my fiancé about how wonderful they are.

Fortune Teller

This song was for Coyote and a part of the story. One of his friends is murdered on Melpomene Street in New Orleans. His mother is distraught and goes to see a fortune teller to ask what he had done with the money he had buried and his sister’s husband who was beating her is responsible for the murder.

Day By Day

This song is about PTSD and how hard it is to manage after going through many traumatic experiences. And how patience from and guidance from the ones closest to you is so important.

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:: stream/purchase Coyote here ::
:: connect with Dylan LeBlanc here ::

— — — —

Coyote - Dylan LeBlanc

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? © Abraham Rowe

:: Stream Dylan LeBlanc ::

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