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  • Writer's pictureMary Ann

Interview: Americana Band, JD & THE STRAIGHT SHOT, Releases Impressive All-Acoustic Album

Americana band, JD & The Straight Shot, just released an impressive new all-acoustic album called The Great Divide on March 15th. The album was recorded at Sound Stage Studios in Nashville with Marc Copely (James Montgomery, Jess Klein, Constantine Maroulis) producing. We had the opportunity to talk with Marc Copely, who in addition to producing JD & The Straight Shot’s last two albums: The Great Divide and 2017’s Good Luck And Good Night, is also a guitarist and back up vocalist in the band.

Photo Credit: Caeser Sebastian

Thank you so much for chatting with us! Obviously with each release, the band and your sound matures. As both a JD & The Straight Shot band member and as the producer for the band’s 2017 release Good Luck And Good Night and the band's new album The Great Divide that was just released on March 15th - what would you say are some notable differences between the two albums?

I think the biggest difference is in the songwriting. We’ve all learned what works and what doesn’t from the previous album and applied that knowledge to grow into The Great Divide. 

When it came time to put together the new all-acoustic album, what’s the one thing you thought to yourself, “This is what I don’t want to do?”

As producer I wanted to do my best to keep from over utilizing our harmony vocals. It’s tempting to go too far with that since we work on it quite a bit as a band. But, too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing.

What advice would you give someone yet to listen to your music? How would you describe the band’s sound?

I would say it really harkens to classic rock and folk, but has this underlying bluegrass influence there which makes it truly unique.

Looking back, what was the first album you bought? We all talk about downloads, but what was the first album you remember plunking your own hard earned money down for?

Wow. I honestly don’t remember. But I do remember my babysitter playing me Led Zeppelin IV when I was a little kid and me losing my mind! I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever heard then, and have the same feeling now. What are the summer 2019 tour plans for JD & The Straight Shot?

We want to play anywhere where they’ll have us! We start in early June and will go out with a few different tours that are being booked now. 

JD & The Straight Shot is a Nashville/New York City-based band, so what are some of your favorite dishes and where are the best places to find them?

Well, as we all know, NYC has world class eats on almost every corner. I recently talked my way into Eleven Madison Park and it was incredible in every way. Transcendent, really.

Nashville has a strong BBQ game going on here. There are a few great BBQ joints. My favorite so far is Martin’s. Who is the biggest foodie in the band?

That would probably be me.  I can’t imagine you get a lot of time to cook while you are on tour. When out on the road, who gets to pick where you eat?

We all contribute to that for sure. One of us will look something up and the talk begins. We have a blast hanging and eating on tour. What are some restaurants you haven't been to that you are dying to check out?

There are a few in Italy that I missed last time I was there, so those are on the list.  Osteria Francescana is one in Modena. And I’ve never been to Le Bernadin in NYC which needs to happen stat!  In honor of the band's name, what's your Straight Shot of choice?

Clase Azul Anejo!  Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why?

Oscar Mayer. Because bacon makes everything better.

Photo Credit: Caeser Sebastian

The band - vocalist/guitarist Jim Dolan, guitarist/vocalist/producer Marc Copely (B.B. King, Rosanne Cash), bassist Byron House (Robert Plant, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton), violinist/fiddler/vocalist Erin Slaver (Martina McBride, Rod Stewart), drummer/percussionist Shawn Pelton (Sheryl Crow, Levon Helm, Saturday Night Live band) and guitarist/vocalist Carolyn Dawn Johnson (Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride) – is comprised of friends whose joy in telling stories together shines through each sparkling track on The Great Divide.

Inspired by artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Civil Wars, Jefferson Airplane, Three Dog Night and The Yardbirds, JD & The Straight Shot delivers a sweet sound and strong songwriting mixed with the swagger of rock n’ roll. The Great Divide boasts unforgettable hooks, soaring melodies and powerful stories.

The dynamic album springs to life with the foot-stomping “The Great Divide” title track that hopes to inspire people to engage in more conversations with those who may hold opinions different from their own. The thumping, potent cadence and melodic layers of “Dead Men Tell No Tales” segues into “It Must Be The Night” with banjo-driven sounds of the heartland, while “Invisible” offers lush tones and “I Should’ve Known” features beautiful harmonies influenced by Simon & Garfunkel’s iconic folk-rock favorite “The Boxer.” “Bees” shares a sensual sonic landscape of longing, “Anything But Love” is a tender tale of heartache, “Take It Slow” showcases sexy syncopated rhythms, while “On A Wire” gives moody vibes of wistful whimsy. JD & The Straight Shot’s covers of The Turtle’s chart-topping 1967 hit “Happy Together” and The Allman Brothers Band instrumental favorite “Jessica” breathe an upbeat freshness and triumphant new vibrancy into the songs.

The Great Divide follows JD & The Straight Shot’s highly acclaimed 2017 album Good Luck And Good Night that roots music authority No Depression raves boasts “Exhilarating performances and luxurious blends of instrumentation,” and Madness To Creation gushes “Is a masterful blend of songwriting, arrangements, musicianship, and harmony."


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