"I'll never forget the first time I heard Indian music," Small reminisces. "I was three, four, five-years old... and I couldn't have been ten feet from this Indian drumbeat.. I remember the lead man takes off in that high whiny cry.. I didn't know what was wrong with him.. I thought he was in pain or hurting or crying.... and they all join him in that big drum. I was scared out of my little pants. To this day I remember it so vividly and that music and crying sound." That sound is translated into his guitar playing.
See interview with Oregon Art Beat.
Small recorded two cds before he was finally acknowledged as a solo artist with the release of his third cd "Wild Indians" in July 2001 when he won the Native American Music Awards "Songwriter of the Year" award.
In 2005, Small relocated to his "stomping grounds of Sheridan, WY... and formed the versatile musical group, Gary Small & the Coyote' Bros. Their first CD "Blues from the Coyote" (2005) a rocking rhythm and blues extravaganza, was awarded three Nammy nominations for Best Blues and Jazz Recording, Best Male Performer, and Songwriter of the Year. At the 2006 Nammy Awards show Small was selected to perform the guitar works of the late great rock & roll guitar legend, Link Wray. Small performed the medley with Wray's grandson, Chris Webb. Bruce Springstein, guitarist, Little Steven (who presented the Hall of Fame induction to Wray) commented with a smile "Man those guys just kicked those tunes right in the ass, great job."
The 2007 NAMA's awarded Small and the Coyote Bros "Best Rock Recording of the Year" to the song "Crazy Woman Mountain".
In 2011, the group won the NAMA "Male Artist of the Year" with "Wyoming (For Dummies)".
This year, Gary Small & the Coyote Bros album Hostiles & Renegades were awarded "Best World Music" Native American Music Awards 2013!!
Watch "Hostiles & Renegades"
When Small plays at different venues, he acknowledges that most people come out to have a good time, however, he does hope that they take home a little bit of the message in the music.
"I think you need to strike a balance between telling people about Indian Culture and hitting them over the head with Indian Culture. You have to give them just the right amount. You have to give them something to think about."
For more information about Gary Small & the Coyote Bros go here. http://www.coyotebros.net/
For more information about the NAMA's go here. http://www.nativeamericanmusicawards.com/home.cfm