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Greg CopelandGreg Copeland
Album: Diana & James
Label: Inside Recordings
Tracks: 13

A couple of months ago I was contacted by American singer songwriter Steve Noonan asking me to review his latest album. This came about as a result of a review I had written on another artist which included one of Steve's songs. The song "Leaning Back And Laughing" was co-written with Greg Copeland who has also now contacted me with a request for a review of his album too. This is both flattering and somewhat humbling in equal measures but it is a request I am happy to comply with.

Greg and Steve have been identified as the two major influences on the musical career of superstar Jackson Browne, his words not mine. Greg went to school with Jackson, played in his bands and now engages Jackson as his executive record producer along with famed musician Greg Leisz. Inside Recordings is also Jackson's own record label.

So what of Greg's music? For British music fans the best way to describe Greg's vocal and musical style is to say that he greatly resembles Mark Knopfler in both voice and guitar flair. His music can be labelled as earthy folk with a touch of West Coast America and Country thrown in. Greg took twenty years away from the music business to raise his family with his wife and his maturity both in song and sound is plain to see and hear. He sometimes sounds slightly weary but this could also be construed as worldly wise. Might also be a bit to do with parenthood!

Some of his songs have been covered to date by Joan Baez, David Lindley and of course Jackson Browne. No mean judges of fine music.

"Diana And James" was first released in 2008 and took Greg almost four years to write and produce. Is the result worth the wait? Most definitely yes! Thirteen tracks all of which can be listened to with both little effort and great satisfaction almost irrespective of the type of music that you like. The musicians on the album are all stars in their own right and this comes across in the quality and subtlety of some of the backing. It is one of those rare occasions when the voice is perfectly matched by the instrumentation. Laid back and relaxed!

The backing consists primarily of guitar, acoustic electric and steel, piano, drums, all with a bit of violin and mandolin included for good measure.

The music at times has a feel rather reminiscent of the late 70's in Los Angeles, not that I was there, but it is how I imagined it to be. The title track "Diana And James" is the track that I feel most clearly demonstrates Greg's songwriting and musical ability and is my favourite track on the album. It is also the track that most closely resembles the aforementioned Mr Knopfler.. It is however closely followed on the favourite's ladder by "Who You Gonna Love" with its simple piano and organ structure. Greg's voice is perfect for this song!

Overall this is a delightful album, beautifully produced and thoughtfully written. It is probably best listened to in a quiet room with a glass of something to accompany you. Just make sure you do not nod off in some of the very quiet passages.

Rory Stanbridge

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