Coyote Ugly

Big SPBGMA Win Changes Everything for Coyote Ugly

By Kara Martinez Bachman

Something huge just happened for Beverly Horton. Her band, Coyote Ugly, went head-to-head with some of the most entertaining, up-and-coming bands in her genre. After a few rounds of showing off her singing chops and displaying her band’s fighting spirit, Coyote Ugly took home the top prize at the 2020 Band Championship of the SPBGMA.

“We are all just so, so excited about it,” Horton said. “It was just phenomenal, and we’re all still floating.”

After outshining 19 other bands — including outstanding acts such as Wood Family Tradition, who placed second, and The Baker Family, who snagged the third slot — Horton seemed delighted and honored to have taken the prize at the annual convention for fans of bluegrass.

goyote uglyHorton sounds as if she isn’t one to brag, and she was sure to stress “the bands were all sooo good…” She did, however, acknowledge how important this win has been to the forward motion of Coyote Ugly. She said the attention and opportunities started to roll in immediately, even while still on the drive back home from Nashville.

“My phone did not stop for my whole five-hour drive,” she said. “It opens more doors.”

They have taken part in band contests before and placed in several. This time, though, was special. Horton said she is not sure why her band won, as the judges “are all scoring you on sheets that include everything.” The best she can guess is to point out that passion might have something to do with it.

“If you see us, you’ll see how much our love of the music shows on stage,” she said, in seeking an explanation.

Horton said the band formed about three years ago, and all members were previously with other groups in the past. The current lineup includes the vocalist and her husband, Tom Horton, on guitar; Joey Cox, playing banjo; Crystal Shipley, on fiddle; Mitch Bentley, plucking bass; and Vince Bullins, with the mandolin.

A few of the members are much younger, but that’s no problem at all because they’re so talented.

“It’s so funny because there’s such an age difference between us,” she explained, “but it don’t feel like it. When we got together, it just clicked,” she explained further. “We all just enjoyed picking with each other.”

It had been a little while since Horton herself had performed; she and her husband had taken some years off and gotten caught up in the day-to-day of the working world. They had previously performed from “around 1976” to “about 1985” as part of The Bluegrass Edition. A few years ago, Horton got a hankering to have another go at it.
“It’s something I missed so much, and my husband and I absolutely love it,” she said.

The Coyote Ugly touring schedule is filling up. Upcoming shows slated for spring and summer include appearances in Branson, Missouri; in the Hortons’ home of Kingsport, Tennessee; and in July, they’ll play in Stuart, Virginia. That’s just a sampling, as the dates are filling in following all the recent attention.

Somewhere in-between all this, Coyote Ugly is putting together some new recordings.

coyote uglyHorton said she feels quite ready for it and feels they will knock this new record out quickly and get it into the hands of fans this spring. They head to a studio in North Carolina during the second week of March, and she hopes the release will happen “by the middle of April.” 

She only gave this hint about what the as-of-now-untitled release will contain: “It’ll be a lot of good harmony songs. That’s our big thing…harmony.”

For now, Horton enjoys the good things happening to Coyote Ugly. “We absolutely love it,” she said, notes of pure happiness showing themselves with each word she spoke. “It’s just a dream.”


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