Listen to: Whip It Workin In A Coal Mine
The Coats vocal band started on the street corners of Seattle, Washington's famous Pike Place Market. Singing for tourists, locals, fish vendors, and fellow buskers, their humble ambitions of earning a few clams to fight off the tuition bills quickly evolved into a full-time international performance career. They've since won national vocal competitions, sang for the President of the United States, and have been fortunate enough to share the stage with such talented fellow entertainers as Ronnie Milsap, Trisha Yearwood, Montgomery Gentry, The Beach Boys, Tanya Tucker, Billy Dean, Crystal Gayle, and Colin Ray, just to name a few, all while continuing their tradition of outreach performances and workshops supporting music in schools throughout the northwest.
Members: Kerry Dahlen, Jamie Dieveney, Joe Mele, Doug Wisness
The Coats have shown remarkable consistency and longevity, having recorded five albums since their formation in 1987. With few personnel changes, and a focus on original music, it's clear that their 1994 Harmony Sweepstakes win was no fluke, but a reflection of their talent and professionalism. "Collection" includes 15 tracks, two of which are new: the Jeff Lynne/ELO cover "Don't Bring Me Down," and "Open Up," a cheerful harmony-driven ditty with simple accompaniment, (reflecting the Coats' trend toward more frequent use of instruments). Some Coats fans feel that the quartet's true calling remains a cappella, however. Songs such as their trademark version of "Rawhide," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Cool For You" (the live version, where the screaming of the audience proves that the Coats are undisputed chick magnets), confirm that the Coats' grasp of pop harmony is nothing if not compelling.
Coats: It Turns Me On
We have here a Coats CD recorded in 1992, two years before their win at the 1994 Harmony Sweepstakes Finals, and long before they changed their name due to the Columbine disaster. But we can clearly hear the talent and the roots of stardom in these 12 songs: "A Cappella," "It Turns Me On," an original by Jamie Dieveney of the group, who also wrote "We'll Make History," the Beatles' "Come Together," the raucous "Elvira," the Doobie's "Joy to the World," James Taylor's "Is That The Way You Look," "A Tribute to Vanilla (Ice)," "Some Kind of Wonderful," "X-Mas Wrapping," "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and a real-world, drunken cover of Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not To Come." What we've always liked about the Coats, be it in their live performances at the Sweeps or the West Coast Summit or in one of their many CDs, is the fun and humor they bring to the music. "Turns" is a necessarily a time capsule, but also an amazing piece of early work by one of our favorite groups of all time.
Coats: Last A Lifetime
Washington-based, pioneering Contemporary a cappella male quartet the Coats have been one of our favorite live and recording groups since we saw them named National Champs on the stage of the '94 Harmony Sweepstakes. We've given rave reviews to their 6 excellent CDs in our catalog, most recently their exquisite Christmas CD, "The Caroler." So we'll tell you straight out-"Last a Lifetime" is accompanied throughout by a country/rock band. That said, "Last" is a hot, innovative CD that features rockabilly, swing, straight ahead country rock, and romantic ballads that are sure to please Coats fans, pickup truck aficionados and anybody who loves music. 16 tunes, 14 of which were written by Coats member Jamie Dieveney (most in conjunction with "5th Coat" Bill Gibson). Favorites include the Commander Cody-esque rockers "What You Do to My Heart" and "You Should Be Dancin'," the nasty, smokin' Rodeo tune "Mad Bull" (which throws in Larry the Cable Guy's "Git 'Er Done" as a lyric), the Bob-Segeresque "Fire and the Flood," the romantic story-song "Lay Your Head on my Shoulder," the sexy "Slow Ride," the upbeat "Good Times Roll," the rockin' "Wake Up Call," the poignant "Not A Day Goes By" and the Country hit-to-be, "In The Middle of the Night." Our prediction: "Last" will move quickly up the Country charts and turn The Coats into national stars. This is long overdue, and it couldn't happen to a nicer, more talented bunch of guys!
Coats: On Christmas Time
Those of you familiar with the Coats' pop harmonies (everyone?) will be delighted and impressed with these 12 (a cappella with occasional acoustic percussion) holiday tracks. Evidently, the group approached their new assignment with a desire to incorporate new stylistic elements into their arranging canon, embellishing their warm, compact blend with a library of accents, inflections and countermelodies. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" is as dynamic and original version as we've ever heard, with a vigorous walking bass underneath jazz phrasing and scat! A stately and resonant "Silent Night" conveys the grandeur of the occasion by the addition of non-diatonic chords to the standard progression. Each of the nine traditional carols and three Coats originals display the same inventive spirit of adventure, though still within the pop mainstream - just more interesting and better. Applause!
Coats: The Boys Are Back
One of the Pacific Northwest's best vocal harmony quartet, in our opinion, 1994 Harmony Sweeps winners The Coats are back with their eighth CD, an energetic, powerful collection of original materials and freshly-arranged covers. Doug Wisness, baritone, Jamie Dieveney, tenor II, Kerry Dahlen, bass and Keith Anderson, tenor I, start us off with the title tune, a driving, deep-bassed rhythmic toe-tapper. Then come a couple of originals by Dieveney, Dahlen and producer Bill Gibson, "She's Got That Thing" and "Walk Away." Other originals by them, "Let's Be Crazy," "Running After Time," "Slow Ride" and "Together Through It All" are interspersed with marvelous covers of Michael Jackson's "Shake Your Body," John Fogerty's "Down On The Corner," and the classic tunes "She Blinded Me With Science," "Stand By Me" and "Sunglasses At Night." Besides being well-chosen and beautifully arranged (by Dieveney and Gibson), and absolutely nailed by the group, these covers show that the Coats' vocal pyrotechnics are right up there with such performers as Michael Jackson when he recorded "Thriller." This is one of the strongest contemporary CDs of the year. The Coats should be stars, they know it, their fans know it, and hopefully "The Boys" will let a whole lot more people know it!
Coats: The Caroler
One of the earliest "contemporary" a cappella groups the Coats are still performing and creating top-notch a cappella today as this excellent new holiday release demonstrates in spades. Almost half of the songs are group originals including the delightful title track and the clever arrangements (most by long-time member Jamie Dieveney) of the covers give the recording a decidedly refreshing sound. That sound is really quite diverse from the atmospheric "We Three Kings" to the upbeat dance sound of "Put the Merry in Merry Christmas" to the almost calypso "Joy Medley". An excellent Christmas CD that you will play for many Christmases to come.