Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer
Maiysha Simpson, Silya Nymoen, Kiki Hawkins, Everett Bradley:
Described as "...a working-class hero of stadium-sized potential", Marc Copely has been sowing new seeds as a guitarist, songwriter, and producer since the age of 19. The Worcester, MA born talent was shaped and bred on the blues, launching his professional career by performing with legends like B.B. King, James Montgomery, and James Cotton. His energetic and soulful performances in multiple genres have been commanding attention ever since, electrifying audiences across the globe. Copely’s long anticipated second solo effort, Harp & Plow, released this month on Valcope Recording/United for Opportunity.
Recorded in just over a week at Applehead Studios in Woodstock, NY, Harp & Plow captures Copely in his most raw and live form, with songs recorded in only a few takes, and minimal revisions. This free-spirited quality is a refreshing artistic leap from the heavily edited, “auto-tuned” music era that saturates today’s airwaves. From the dark and sexy blues guitar to the dreamy and ethereal, Harp & Plow showcases Copely’s masterful guitar work, while drawing from a wealth of influences. The record ponders personal transformation, the dualities of strengths and fears, and the embracing of deep emotions finally ready to be released.
“In this last year of my life I found love, a new President that I believe in, and a new strength to face my truth in my music. I had to do this record,” he said.
Copely is no stranger to the recording industry. In 2002, he was signed to RCA Records and released his critically acclaimed solo record Limited Lifetime Guarantee. His first single received steady radio play and quickly boosted him into the national spotlight, prompting appearances on VH1, MTV2, and features in publications from Billboard to GQ Magazine. He toured as a solo artist supporting Coldplay, Our Lady Peace, Vanessa Carlton, and many others.
As a songwriter and producer, Marc developed an admirable respect, notably co-writing the songs "Breathe Into You" with the legendary Carole King and "Something Beautiful" with Tracy Bonham and Greg Wells. His songs have been heard on "Late Night with David Letterman", "Tonight Show with Jay Leno", "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", "Brothers and Sisters", "Gray's Anatomy", and others. Marc continues diverse collaborations on the stage and studio that have included: Bono and The Edge, Linda Eder, Indian percussionist/producer Karsh Kale, R&B sensation Maiysha, The East Village Opera Company and Metal Messiah with the Boston Pops Orchestra, under the direction of Keith Lockhart. Currently, he is on a national tour as guitarist with 80’s icon Billy Squier.
... In the last few years Marc Copely’s career in music has taken more turns than a gypsy caravan.
The Worcester, Massachusetts born Copely was born and bred on the blues. His professional career began playing shows with artists’ BB King, Buddy Guy, Dr John and many others as a member of different blues-based bands from the New England area. Most notably,in 2000,Marc ws a member of the James Montgomery Band, and went on to produce James’ WC Handy nominated “Bring It On Home” with guest James Cotton. Soon after, Marc signed a recording contract with RCA Records and before the ink was dry, moved to New York City.
In 2002, he released the critically acclaimed solo record “Limited Lifetime Guarantee” on RCA. Touring constantly in support of that record, Marc and band opened for bands such as Coldplay, Our Lady Peace, and The Tragically Hip as well as playing hometown shows in New York City. After receiving much radio play and time on music televsion with first single “Surprise”, the record went the way so many other records have gone being lost in the ever changing and clouded world of the record business.
After that, he decided to take matters into his own hands and built a recording studio first conceived for writing and experimenting with his own material. But, as life goes, things changed and Marc found himself writing and recording with many other New York City artists’ and writing songs with Carole King(“Breathe In To You”), Tracy Bonham(“Something Beautiful”) and Willy Porter(“If Love Were An Airplane”). In addition to writing and recoding, he became an in- demand guitar player and vocalist for many recording sessions and live shows. During that time Marc was called on to play guitar and sing with Hollywood Records Indian pop star Tina Sugandh and also produce, mix, sing and play guitar on the latest Jess Klein release for Ryko records,”Strawberry Lover.” Upon it’s release in April 2005,“Strawberry Lover” was the most added record to Triple-A Radio it’s first week out, named one of theTop 10 Sexiest Records for 2005, and has received much critcal applause including a four star reveiw in Mojo magazine.
Marc continues to produce and play with these and many other artists’ and is writing and recording a soon to be released second solo effort.
Even Older Biography:
By all accounts, Marc Copely shouldn't even be alive.
Not after that car accident -- the one that left his body broken and his life hanging in precarious balance.
Even setting that aside, those years spent as a kid on the streets of Main South, the grittiest neighborhood in Worcester, Massachusetts, should have beaten him down into a life of poverty, diminished spirit, and no hope.
And yet …
Here he is, poised at the edge of what may be one of the most spectacular album debuts in years, with a discful of passionate songs and intense, focused performance.
Marc Copely has already beaten the odds several times. With the release of Limited Lifetime Guarantee, he just may do it again.
He's a survivor, who's learned how to chase down his dreams and make them happen. His album tells the stories of his life, in songs with vivid lyrics that ride escalating melodies into fist-pumping choruses. Copely delivers this material with slashing guitar lines and a raw, gutsy voice. It's a sound you won't forget: classic yet contemporary, timely and timeless.
Its roots reach back to Main South, where Copely spent his weekdays as a kid getting his knuckles rapped in Catholic school, his weekends hanging with his buddies, and his nights at home, listening to his father and his uncles sing. "My dad is a trained opera singer," he remembers. "He still has a barbershop quartet. There were always vocal albums around the house: a lot of Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, harmony-driven stuff."
Marc learned from what he heard, developed deep ties with his parents -- and rebelled. At fourteen he stopped crooning and started hammering away at his first guitar. "It was an old Sears nylon-string thing -- the worst guitar in the world," he laughs. "One day I came home from baseball practice, and a couple of my friends were playing guitar together. I was like, 'Oh, man, I'm just sitting around, not doing anything.' So they threw this thing in my hands. That's what I learned on for a good year, because I couldn't afford to buy one."
His heroes were the guitar gods: Hendrix, Clapton, Jeff Beck. With help from the older brother of one of his friends, Marc started copping their licks. He loved the power and expression that the legendary players got from their instrument -- but there was something else. "The thing that really struck me was that the songs were great. You can play 'The Wind Cries Mary' just on an acoustic guitar, and it sounds amazing. That's what really hit me, that the songwriting level was so high. You had these great songs, and then when you added the sonics and the improvisation, like on a Cream record, that gave you a certain amount of danger as well."
His teen years flashed past in a blur of garage jams and gigs. He soaked up every kind of music he heard, from the R&B and Latin albums that were the soundtrack of Main South to the wildly diverse set lists he'd put together with his bands. "We'd do a Blind Faith song, a U2 song, a Van Halen song … and then we'd have to play modern stuff for our friends who didn't want to know about Derek and the Dominoes or Hendrix."
Soon the word spread throughout Boston: Marc Copely was a guitarist to watch. He was out each night, working the clubs, building his rep. His phone was ringing with job offers. He got into the prestigious Berklee School of Music; for a year, until his money ran out, he studied performance, theory, jazz, and even English literature.
Today, looking back, he knows it all came a little too easily. He was coasting without even knowing it. He would need something to slap him into real action, to awaken the potential he had come to take for granted.
It came without warning -- the bloody car crash that left him with severe head trauma, two fractures in his left arm, a broken left wrist, a dislocated shoulder, bruised ribs, a badly injured back. "It was horrible," he says. "I shouldn't have lived through it."
But he did, and as he began his long discovery, Marc began to change. "It was like, 'Hey, I might not be alive tomorrow,' so I wanted to get to the center of what I was feeling," he says. "Before that accident, I didn't have any kind of focus. I had ambitions, but I didn't have the guts to pursue them. But the impact of living through something like that made me start to write more consistently. I became way more prolific."
And he began building his guitar chops back, literally from scratch. Bit by bit he recovered his strength, and soon he was working again -- on gigs as diverse as a long road tour with folk/punk innovator Mary Lou Lord to an album with Boston blues harp icon James Montgomery, on which Marc served as producer.
These were valuable experiences, each feeding into Marc's broadening and deepening range. "One minute I'm doing 12-string guitar parts with Mary Lou, then I'm playing slide with James Cotton," he laughs. "The point of all that was that music is music; it all comes from the same place. It's all about playing with a lot of heart and evoking emotions, in any and all styles."
Eventually all of these elements, and all that had come before -- nights of harmony with his family, days on the streets, the Berklee jazz studies, the nightmare collision and the long recuperation -- fell into place with exceptional clarity. With that, Marc knew that his moment had come.
With that, he went to work on Limited Lifetime Guarantee. It's a trio project, with Dave Hull, from Pete Droge's band, on bass, and L.A.-based Josh Freese, from the Vandals and A Perfect Circle, on drums. David Werner, a former RCA recording artist, played the key role as producer and co-writer, with Marc, of the material as well. "It was David who served as my musical conscious and most trusted friend and collaborator," says Marc.
But Copely holds the spotlight, from that introductory chord on "Cellophane" through a noir-shadowed finale on "Brutal Light." On each track, there's a blend of passion and blazing technique that's been rare for far too long in popular music. His voice muscles through the mix, then draws us in with unexpected sensitivity. His solos are dynamic yet to the point and help reinforce and underpin the mood and messages of the songs.
Above all, Limited Lifetime Guarantee is utterly lacking in artifice. It's as real as anything you'll hear on the radio, or in your own inner playlists. From unforgettably hummable choruses to deeply personal songs, it unfolds one artist's life in music -- and promises much more to come.