It doesn't get much more "Ramona" than a country rock band practicing in a converted barn, now used as Blue Horse Records, up a dirt road off a winding highway.
But this is no ordinary "barn." Bands come from "all over" including the San Francisco area to create their CDs with recording engineer Jim Nau in this wood panelled, carpeted room with sound proofing "egg carton" material on the ceiling and great acoustics.
On Wednesday nights, Nau and his fellow Lost Coyotes band members gather with a six pack and pizza here to belt out screaming Doors and render poignant Neil Young harmonies to practice for upcoming gigs.
They're currently preparing for on March 31 at . It will be their first time at the event, but they are no strangers to Ramona and East County.
The group was a country dance band in Ramona in the early 1990s in what was once called the Teepee Room, then the Fat Cat and now Molly Malone's. They have been the KSON country cruise band for excursions out in the harbor, and they played at Ramona Rodeo for a couple of years. Lost Coyotes was also chosen to perform at a fund raiser for now retired Rep. Duncan Lee Hunter, they said.
That version of Lost Coyotes separated in 1995. Then they all worked on music projects of their own. Three of the current members—Nau, "Mailman Mike" (bass) and R.B. Courtney (drums)—created Midnight Rider, which ended in 2003.
But camaraderie and good memories die hard. It wasn't long before Edwards and Mailman Mike, who were playing in the Taylor Harvey band, began to feel nostalgic.
"We started listening to old tapes of Lost Coyotes," Edwards told Patch recently. "We called R.B. and asked him if he wanted to join us again. He thought about it for 30 seconds and said, 'Sure'."
Nau was the last one to join Lost Coyotes, whose repertoire now also includes classic rock and originals. He plays keyboards and acoustic and electric guitar. The recording engineer is known in Ramona as the former owner of the Blue Horse Music store. After he sold it, it became the current on Main Street.
"I named it after my wife's horse, Blue," he said. "Blue used to live right here in this barn. He's still alive; he's out there, (pointing down the driveway a bit)."
Music Fest-goers may hear Lost Coyotes' versions of Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Eagles and Tommy James and the Shondells among the playlist. One of the group's favorites is also Whiter Shade of Pale. In fact, that song is significant because that's how Nau entered the band.
"I was talking to Jim at the mailbox," Mailman Mike said. "He asked me what I was doing these days. I told him and he said, 'Do you need another guitar player?' I think the clincher was he could play keyboards."
Specifically, he could play Whiter Shade of Pale well, they all agreed.
Having Nau on keyboards opened up a whole new sound for the band.
"We began doing the Doors, Santana, stuff we never would have done otherwise," Courtney said.
When Courtney's not playing music, he's a horticulturist.
Edwards is retired after 32 years with the custodial department for San Diego City Schools.
Lost Coyotes plays at a variety of North and East County venues, including the Downtown Cafe in El Cajon, Don's Cocktails in Lakeside and The Regal in La Mesa. They'll be at The Regal in April.
Other bands at Ramona Music Fest will include Rockola and Cactus, Twang, Whyte, Grano and Nash (renamed as Back to the Garden). To see ticket and event information, .
Sharing your favorite music memory with us could win you a $25 certificate to Kenrix Sushi. A winner will be chosen at 9 a.m. March 30, 2012. To enter,