Coyote Moon Alison Steele Patti Maxine Lizzy SmithMusic 

Coyote Moon All-Girl California Country Trio

By Alison Steele and Julie Horner

Patti Maxine, Alison Steele, and Lizzy Smith have crossed paths in various musical ventures over time and recently decided that “once in a while” wasn’t enough. The three seasoned Santa Cruz Mountains musicians joined forces in the fall of 2023 calling themselves Coyote Moon. Patti brings her rich vocals, dreamy lap steel, and all-around ‘Patti magic’ to the trio. Alison is beloved for her sweet singing and Appalachian style clawhammer banjo. And Lizzy sets melodies a’ bubblin’ with her lyrical fiddle stylings. Lacing their on-stage performances with a hearty dose of natural good humor, they love singing three-part harmonies and delight in weaving a unique old-timey string band sound that blends folk, Americana, and mountain music into what they call ‘California Country.’

Coyote Moon: Patti Maxine, Lizzy Smith, and Alison Steele

Alison said, “Some of our favorite songs come from the old fiddling traditions. Like Mockingbird, where the fiddle imitates bird sounds from whippoorwills to seagulls, Golden Slippers, and Polyann’s Hammer where we can really get to bangin’ and sawin’.” They also do covers of songs by Rhianna, Our Native Daughters, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “We do some originals too, which takes playing together to another level completely. That’s when we really get to start feeding our souls some good stuff as a female trio.”

Three for the Road

A local resident since 1978, Patti Maxine is known throughout Santa Cruz County as a lap steel guitar virtuoso, playing a multitude of genres including Hawaiian, swing, country, R&B, rock, blues, and jazz. Patti began her lifelong love affair with Hawaiian music and the lap steel guitar as a young girl in Roanoke, Virginia, studying with lap steel master Elmer Ridenhour, and gigging on weekends. Before embarking on her successful career as a session player, she was best known as a driving force behind Saddle Up and Boogie, the first Western swing band in Santa Cruz. Along with Coyote Moon and numerous side projects, Patti also plays with the group Jazz the Dog.

Alison Steele’s songwriting, clawhammer banjo and Blue Ridge-raised vocals bring a distinct mountain beauty to the group. Born in Virginia into a musical family with church life and singing at the core of her childhood she explains, “Music is just a part of everyday living,” she said. When she’s not singing and flat-foot dancing with Coyote Moon and long time gal pals Sugar by the Pound, she’s gardening and writing about mountain living from her Boulder Creek home.

Lizzy Smith comes from the Midwest and grew up on the stage of the Wisconsin Opry which she and her family still run and perform in throughout the summer months. Moving to Santa Cruz she found her footing in local bands such as Still Searchin’ and Whiskey West. When she is not howling it up with Coyote Moon, the in-demand musician can be found fiddling around with the Americana group Kentucky Mule.

Coyote Moon: Patti Maxine, Alison Steele, and Lizzy Smith

Coyote Moon has been playing at favorite venues all over the county. Locally, Alison, Patti, and Lizzy will be playing at The Spring Santa Cruz Makers Market at Hallcrest Vineyards in Felton on May 5th, and at the 2024 Redwood Mountain Faire June 1-2 at Roaring Camp in Felton. Tickets:

A native of Virginia, Alison Steele lives with her family in Boulder Creek where she raises quail, chickens, fruit trees, vegetables, and herbs. Alison plays banjo and sings in Sugar by the Pound.

Julie Horner writes about art, music, and the local business scene in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Email:

Photos contributed by Alison Steele

Featured photo: Coyote Moon (l to r): Lizzy Smith, Patti Maxine, and Alison Steele


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