I shouldn't read one-sheets. One-sheets, for those unaware, are short bios/hype/info usually printed on one sheet (hence the name) included with review copies specifically to give radio/reviewers/PR people an idea of important facets of the artist and the music. Copper & Glass's one sheet mentions Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ryan Adams, Mumford & Sons and, of all people, Rene Descartes (yes, the philosopher) and had I not heard a sampling of the music beforehand, I would have been tempted to throw the disc on a pile of "maybe laters" critics are known to keep in the closet—a pile to be gone through when one gets caught up (which never happens). If I never hear another Skynyrd album it will be too soon (the hazards of being a fossil in this modern age of do-it-yourself music). Mumford & Sons, the same (they have already received enough undeserved hype to last a millennium). Ryan Adams? I would listen, at least, because I have heard enough of him to know that he is capable of a breakout album amongst the many.
Thing is, I had heard a couple of tracks, having visited the band's website, which is why I snapped up this puppy. Samples of the first two tracks were enough. I could tell these guys were a step beyond. A step beyond the formula music being churned out by the posers in Nashville. A step beyond the possibilities of artists who are just not quite there yet. A step beyond most bands churning out Americana to beat the band before the term loses favor amongst the masses.
Americana? These guys aren't Americana. Americana, to me, is a term used by reviewers and fans who don't know enough about music or are too lazy to dissect the music and figure out what is really going on. Americana is a copout. Then again, there have been those artists who almost defy description and I find myself being forced to use the term in lieu of a four paragraph explanation. Thank God those artists are few and far between. I love the music but even after sixty-plus years of listening, even I get confused.
No confusion here. Copper & Glass, sports fans, are that hybrid I call Country Rock (or Rock Country, depending on the song). They have roots, soul and a string of songs as long as your arm with which to convince you that they have the goods. They do. Have the goods, that is. Pick a track and you will hear songs vaguely reminiscent of Hall & Oates or Vince Gill or any of a number of outstanding artists we have all heard and love. Vaguely. They don't copy. They create.
The songs on this album are of the softer variety. Not soft rock, mind you, though a few of the songs could possibly be slotted there. More like smooth rock, and when I say smooth, I mean smoo-o-oth. Sure, they have that little country rock kick, but who says country rockers can't be smooth? Cowboy was smooth. Pure Prairie League was smooth. When they wanted to be, Heartsfield could be smooth (and still can, from what I've heard). And maybe you're thinking, who the hell are they? They, my friends, are artists who gained a lifetime place in my record collection while Eagles and their like were booted to the curb. I'm not saying the Eagles did not produce good music. I'm just saying they didn't make the cut. Whereas I won't go so far as to say Copper & Glass will (I have only had the CD four days), it is looking like they well might. I have found myself reaching for the CD more than I normally would an album of lesser stature in my ears and have gotten to the point where I recognize an urge to hear them. A jonesing, if you will.
Why? Because of the light shuffling rhythm and sparse production of Fight Against Your Will, not to mention the superb harmonies, simple mandolin, haunting pedal steel and lonesome feel. Because of the mellow country-rockin' sound of Copper and Glass, a song worthy of the band name (and vice-versa). Because of the soulful This Shell of a Man, an organ-dominant ballad like I hear all too seldom these days. I mean, this album is stacked with songs of worth. Those three, though, dug in deep and I know I am not going to be able to (nor will I want to) spit out the hook.
All the words in the world will not tell this tale, sports fans, but there is a way. Simply click on the website in the header of this review and when you get there, listen. And don't listen to hear what I've written. Lay back and let the music wash over you. That is the best way to hear Copper & Glass. It is the way they deserve to be heard. Do it. Then buy the album. Then go see them live when they come to your corner of the world. I will be the guy with the face planted against the PA speakers absorbing the sound. See you there.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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