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12/29/11: Article and interview by Arthur Woods

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Interview in English with Greg and Steve Noonan. The original version in French by Jacques-Eric Legarde published in Issue 15 of XRoads (January 09) will be posted here later.

Click to read the interview in English






A mere 26 years have passed since Geffen Records released the Jackson Browne-produced debut album by Greg Copeland, Revenge Will Come, including Copeland's best-known composition, "El Salvador," a song that took on the administration of President Ronald Reagan and its Vietnam-like policy of support for the right-wing regime in that Central American country. (The song was covered by Peter, Paul and Mary.) The rest of Revenge Will Come was a rocking singer/songwriter effort, with Danny Kortchmar's guitar leading driving songs like "Full Cleveland." Unfortunately, the album, which sounded at the time like an auspicious beginning to Copeland's career, did not sell. Copeland returns, again under Browne's aegis, with Diana and James. (Browne is the executive producer this time, and the disc is being released by his Inside Recordings label.) The rock style is gone, replaced by country-folk arrangements and a sound that will be practically unrecognizable to the lucky few who bought Revenge Will Come. "The Only Wicked Thing," for example, has a Western swing feel, while "I Am the One" sounds like old-timey country. "Typical" boasts a pedal steel guitar that makes it sound like traditional country, and "Palace of Love" is a Mexican-flavored ballad sung as a duet with violinist Carla Kihlstedt. The tunes, all written by Copeland, constitute a song cycle about the necessity of love as a bulwark against life's vagaries, told in imagery that mixes rural references and Los Angeles scenes. Copeland sings them in a wheezy croak that lends gravitas to the sentiments. He remains a thoughtful writer, even as he remains in the shadow of his mentor, Browne. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide


I did an interview with Jackson Browne a couple of years ago. That was when he told me that Greg Copeland was about to make a second album, "Revenge Will Come" came in 1982. This is the new one! Not knowing what to expect this collection of songs just swept me away... It's like music from another time and place. The only Californian thing about "Diana And James" is the recording location. Producer Greg Leisz has dressed Copeland's songs in old timey steel guitars, violins and nyckelharpa. Close your eyes and it could be 1947 or 2007. Play this one before or after anything recent by Dave Alvin and you'll find that you have all you need.

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]


11/12/08 - Greg Copeland Returns, by Michael Witthaus

11/12/08 - Greg Copeland in his own words, by Michael Witthaus