Shared a bill with singer-songsmith Ana Lena Copeland at Corner Coffee over in the Warehouse District—with Wenso Ashby having pulled a sneak surprise, to come down and check out my set. Had just encountered, last time down there, one impressive artist, name of Nancy Olson. That was maybe a month ago. And now, here comes Copeland, with strong chops on some very nice, real special material.
She was pushing Lovers Do, her fine debut EP, recorded at Silver Art Studios. It took her a minute to find her footing, but, after the first couple numbers, she settled into a comfort zone and sang with authority. And, of course, the more confident she grew, the subtler she sang and by the time I had leave it was in the middle of an excellent set, each song just as strong as the one before it. Frankly, if Ashby hadn’t been my ride home, I probably would’ve hung around to the end. Despite that repartee is not Copeland’s long suit.
On to Lovers Do. It’s alive with passion for the craft, executed with refreshing ability and engaging energy. In fact, talent abounds, something of a reviewer’s dream, really making you perk your ears up. The only thing that could be remotely called a “drawback” is that by the time you’re into the four-song disc, it’s over and time to play the whole thing again. This whets the listener’s appetite and it truly should be interesting to see what she comes up with next time around. It also provides plenty good reason, should you see an ad for one of her gigs, to make plans accordingly.
Copeland’s is not your run-of-the-mill style. Indeed, you have to give yourself a minute to get accustomed to it. Last time I was similarly blown away was by Kymara, back in 2007. It was then, by the time I caught up to what was going on with Copeland, it wasn’t just about getting accustomed—I was hooked. Indeed, Lovers Do, in terms of that powerful drive, brooding melodies and stark vocal quality, is a bit reminiscent of Shannon Doughtery drew on to anchor Kymara with alluring originality. And, yes, Copeland unquestionably has her own signature sound—citing Doughtery was just to offer a frame of reference.
Ana Lena Copeland is exactly the sort of local artist Twin Cities music lovers need to get behind and support. As her faithful following of friends (there’s tongue-twister for you) happily did, showing up at Corner Coffee as they do, she said from the stage, for every single one of her gigs. Good for them, good for her. It’s rewarding that someone this gifted has an appreciative fan base on which to build.
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