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THE SOUND

May 31, 2012
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Copland takes her show on the road (again)

By Chad Taylor
soundcheck@dmcityview.com

Roxi Copland’s life has seen her yo-yo between the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. The child of Aberdeen, Wash. (one-time home of Kurt Cobain), Copland came to Iowa for college, moved to Vancouver, B.C., last year and now finds herself readying to move back to the Midwest this summer.

“I moved to British Columbia with my husband for his (post-doctoral) work eight months ago,” Copland said in a phone interview from the road. “And once this tour is done, we’re moving to Milwaukee. I’m in the process of packing.”

Through all the scenery changes, the petite girl with the big sound has managed to keep herself productive. Copland has released two EPs since 2008 and has a new album coming out this month (“Pretty Lies,” see review in this issue). Adding to her travels, Copland returned to Newton to record this latest effort.

“I love Iowa. I consider it a second home,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed recording there.”

In between albums, Copland has found ample time to tour as well — as is the case now.

“It’s been going really well,” she said, speaking about her month-long tour. “It’s almost done. There’s Kansas City left, then St. Louis and the big finale in Des Moines. It’s been a fast month.”

Part of Copland’s draw is her music’s great accessibility. She’s extremely easy to listen to and has cultivated a performance that’s highly versatile. She’s toured both with a backing band and as a solo act, performing with nothing between her and the audience but a baby grand and her smoky voice — two scenarios in which Copland finds herself equally at home.

“There are things I really love about both,” she said. “I really enjoy having the big, full sound of a band and all the things that allows you to do… I’ve been lucky to be able to have my brother come along on this tour and play bass, so that’s been really nice. But it’s (also) nice to be able to play with just a piano and have a much more intimate kind of show.”

There is no doubt Copland lends herself easily to intimacy. With a band behind her, Copland’s songs hop with jazzy, lively arrangements. But it’s in her solo performances where Copland’s talents really come to bear. Her voice is full and lush, and her piano work is top-notch. In addition, the lyrics behind songs like the jazzy “Youthful Indiscretion” and the quintessential bluesy break-up song “Look Me in the Eyes” all speak to loves lost and secrets shared. A solo show with Copland is like a conversation with a close friend.

Fan interest in that more intimate show is the thing that was ultimately the driving force behind Copland’s decision to produce “Pretty Lies,” which is comprised entirely of piano and vocals. The album showcases her vocal talents in a unique way, and that suits Copland just fine.

“It’s an unconventional album,” Copland said. “I think I did exactly what I set out to do. I hope it’s the kind of album that people enjoy over breakfast and the morning paper.”

After this tour wraps up, Copland will take a well-earned rest.

“I’ll go home for about a month and relax,” she said. “Then I’ll start up again, and get to work on the next album. I don’t tend to stay still very well.” CV



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