Splice Magazine recently had the good fortune to spend a few minutes with Marc Copely, lead guitarist of JD & The Straight Shot. The band will be appearing with the Eagles at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan on March 15, 2018. Marc is a very talented musician, as well as an all-around interesting guy. Let’s see what he had to say…
So Marc, how did you come to join JD & The Straight Shot?
My good friend Charlie Drayton called me up a few years ago and asked me to come down and audition for the band. I got the gig and off we went.
JD & The Straight Shot’s two most recent albums are 100% acoustic. What was the catalyst for the band’s decision to move away from plugged in and toward Americana?
The band was on tour and we were playing lots of radio shows, and those were all acoustic. We kept saying how much we loved the acoustic sessions, so we changed it up.
JD & The Straight Shot has a myriad of musical influences. Listening to your new album Good Luck and Good Night we hear elements of bluegrass, blues, Celtic, rock and for lack of a better term, “Tex-Mex.” How would you describe Americana as it applies to JD & The Straight Shot’s sound?
It’s definitely Americana music as defined as “American roots music.” Although we do take some influence from artists like British folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, and a few Irish artists, as well.
We see that you produced Good Luck and Good Night. How did producing this album compare to other albums that you’ve produced? How do you feel about the experience?
Good Luck and Good Night was a different album to produce than other records I’ve produced since I’m a member of the band. Usually I’m producing and playing a little guitar, maybe singing on some stuff, but it’s different to be a full member of the band and also the producer. It was a fun record to make because I know each musician so well, which brought an added dimension.
Was it difficult to narrow down the final selection of ten songs on the album?
No, not at all. We had that number of songs in our heads for a while.
Better Find a Church from JD & The Straight Shot’s previous album Ballyhoo! Is one of those songs that are hard to get out of your head, in a good way. It was produced by Rodney Crowell, who clearly is adventurous in his approach to making music. What impact, if any, did working with him have on you as an artist, and producer?
Rodney is an incredible musician and songwriter, so he was a huge influence. He always has been an influence on me as a songwriter, and after seeing him produce, I lifted a few ideas for this album for sure. We’ll call it “borrowing,” haha.
Our frontman, Jim, wrote the lyrics for the song. He says it’s about the desperation of the gambler, dashed hopes and all.
JD & The Straight Shot is touring with some of rock and roll’s most notable royalty. What’s it like to share the stage with the likes of the Eagles, The Doobie Brothers, and Chicago? Do you have much, or any, opportunity to interact with these legendary artists? If so, what do you personally find to be key takeaways from these encounters?
We learn from them daily. Plus, Joe Walsh produced our 2014 album Where I’ve Been, so we picked up a lot from him, as well.
Do you envision any opportunity for JD & The Straight Shot doing future collaborative projects in the studio with any of these artists?
I hope so!!!