Lynn Coulter has been very busy for the past three years. After working with Rita Coolidge on the singer’s pop music, he got involved with her side project, Walela, which gained some attention from their involvement in Robbie Robertson’s album Music For The Native Americans. According to Coulter, each project requires a different approach.
“Walela is quite a challenge,” he explains, “because it’s Native American pop music. I spent time with the records to learn what percussionist Geoffrey Gordon had done. It’s all hand drumming, so I took the approach of not using a conventional drumset. I put together a setup that I thought would work, and I play with mallets and deerskin gloves. I’ve taken the gloves and cut off certain sections, stuffing them with cotton for some songs so I can get the sound I want but not hurt myself while doing it. I’m using all kinds of shakers, and I have bells on my ankles too. I also have three kick drums in various positions.”
The approach to Coolidge’s regular pop performances is somewhat acoustic. She needs a drummer who can play percussion and sing backup, which Coulter has always done. “My setup is a half-percussion/half-drum hybrid. I’ve got congas and bongos to my left and all kinds of toys to my right, hanging from cymbal stands and such.
When Coulter’s in town (that would be L.A.), he’s involved in what he describes as a “co-op” project called Mason South, in which several songwriters work–collectively and individually–at writing and performing material.