Southern California-based singer-songwriter Greg Copeland’s new album DIANA AND JAMES is released today, October 7 on Inside Recordings, the independent label founded by Jackson Browne and his management team.Â Browne also serves as executive producer for the project, which was produced by Greg Leisz, a pedal steel ace and renowned guitarist who plays on every track as well.Â Throughout, Copeland’s folk-flavored songs come alive by virtue of his resonant and plaintive vocals, spare melodies, novelist’s sense of narrative and pragmatist’s sense of unadorned emotion.
DIANA AND JAMES is the first album from Copeland since his 1982 debut Revenge Will Come, which was released on Geffen Records and produced by Jackson Browne.Â That LP was included in Time Magazine’s 1982 year-end 10 Best list and was cited by allmusic.com as “a first-rate singer-songwriter affair”. Copeland and Browne have been friends since they attended high school together in Fullerton, CA, and entered the L.A. music scene in the late ’60s.Â In addition to the collaborations on DIANA AND JAMES and Revenge Will Come, Copeland co-wrote the track “Candy,” which appears on Browne’s album Lives In The Balance.
In the extended hiatus between his two albums, Copeland pursued a law career and raised two sons with his wife.Â The urge to compose returned full force in 2000 when “songs just started pouring out,” he says.Â In between jobs at one point, Copeland allowed himself one hundred days to do nothing but write, and most of the songs on DIANA AND JAMES emerged during that creative burst.Â The title characters recur throughout the songs, but not in a strict linear sense.Â “They’re the same two people moving through different lives, almost like three-dimensional chess,” he explains.Â “It’s not a concept album, but a lot of little interconnections tie the songs together.”Â Listeners will hear these narrative links in stand-outs including “I Am The One,” “Muddy Water” and the title track.
DIANA AND JAMES was recorded at Groove Masters in Santa Monica and Winslow Ct. Studio in Los Angeles.Â Copeland is accompanied by a prominent group of accomplished musicians that include, in addition to Greg Leisz: Jennifer Condos and Bob Glaub (bass); David Piltch (upright bass); Jay Bellerose, Danny Frankel and Don Heffington (drums, percussion); Patrick Warren (keyboards); Phil Parlapiano (keyboards, horns); and Gabe Witcher (violin).Â Carla Kihlstedt — a founding member of groups including Tin Hat, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and 2 Foot Yard — is also featured on violin and delivers a sublime co-lead vocal on “Palace Of Love.”Â Heather Waters and Danny Ott appear on harmony vocals.
Textured by passing years and earned wisdom, Greg Copeland’s music has a quality of being lived-in in the best possible sense at the same time that DIANA AND JAMES’ thirteen songs are strikingly fresh, new listening experiences.
Other 2008 releases on Inside Recordings include: Jackson Browne’s Time The Conqueror and Solo Acoustic Vol. 2 and Joel Rafael’s Thirteen Stories High.