Mark Copely of Americana rock group JD & The Straight Shot talks about their latest album, The Great Divide.
The passion project of musician James L. Dolan, country, blues, and roots-rock group JD & the Straight Shot generate enthusiastic, high-energy jam tracks on their new album, The Great Divide.
Composed of renowned artists including vocalist and guitarist James Dolan, guitarist Marc Copely, bassist Byron House, violinist Erin Slaver, drummer Shawn Pelton, and guitarist Carolyn Dawn Johnson, JD & the Straight Shot have opened for bands like ZZ Top and the Eagles.
Recently, we talked with Marc Copely about The Great Divide.
Cowboys & Indians: Congratulations on the new album. What are you most excited about in terms of its release?
Marc Copely: I’m always excited when I’m part of a record that’s being released. Getting music out there is and has been my life for quite a while. We’re hoping people like it!
C&I: What’s the journey of this album been like?
Copely: It’s been pretty typical. You sit down, write songs, and when you feel you have what you want, you go record them.
C&I: What was the band's creative influence for it? What inspired the album?
Copely: Certainly our time spent opening for the Eagles. Their songs, vocals, and arrangements are all as good as it gets.
C&I: How does this album stand out from JD & the Straight Shot’s other stuff?
Copely: We’re always growing. It takes time to be a real band.
C&I: What is the band’s songwriting process like?
Copely: It goes all different ways. Sometimes we write solo, sometimes as a group.
C&I: Any favorite stories about how certain songs on The Great Divide?
Copely: The title track, “The Great Divide,” is a good example. Our singer-fiddler Erin played us a Civil Wars song that we all really liked the feel of. I picked up a guitar and came up with the instrumental hook of the song based on it being in drop-D tuning, like the Civil Wars song. Then we all started jamming on it, and our front man, Jim, sat down and wrote the lyrics.
C&I: Is there a certain song fans have really taken to?
Copely: I’d say it would be “Better Find a Church.” I think it lyrically and musically resonates and when those two come together, that’s when you know you have something special.
C&I: Is there a song on The Great Divide that you’re most proud of?
Copely: Well, personally speaking, I wrote “It Must Be Night” about a situation in my life that’s very close to me. It was a tough song to write and I think about it deeply as I’m singing it every night.
C&I: The harmonies on the track “I Should Have Known” were influenced by Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” What other musicians and or songs have been influential on this release?
Copely: Classic artists like CSNY and Fleetwood Mac.
C&I: What’s on your playlist these days?
Copely: I always listen to a mix of current music and classic stuff. On the classic side, I’ve been listening to the White Mansions/The Legend of Jesse James album a ton.
C&I: JD & the Straight Shot is currently on tour with singer-songwriters Matt Costa and Matt Hartke presented by SiriusXM’s Coffee House. What are you most enjoying about those live performances?
Copely: I’m looking forward to just getting onstage and playing! Come check us out! SiriusXM.com/CoffeeHouseLiveTour
C&I: What can we expect from JD & the Straight Shot when we see you live?
Copely: A high-energy bluegrass vibe combined with that ’60s acoustic rock thing. We love both sounds and incorporate them into the live performance.
C&I: What’s next for the band?
Copely: Hopefully more touring!
For more information on JD & the Straight Shot, visit their website.