Copper Country offers a whole lot more than country music this weekend
Bob Burwell out of Nashville, Tenn., has been orchestrating Copper Country for six years. He’s the same guy who also started Westfest at Copper with Michael Martin Murphy in 1987, and in that vein, he strives to “make it an eclectic line-up.””I always try to give them something they’re not going to see,” Burwell said. “I try to create something where you’re going to see something special.”Though he no longer has a budget to provide free concerts from the likes of John Fogerty or Lynyrd Skynyrd, headliners Pat Green and Dr. John are geared up to deliver a smokin’ show, and The Long Players are serving up a special that normally only happens in Nashville: Saturday, they’re performing the Beatles’ “Rubber Sole” album from start to finish, with special guests like John Waite belting out “Drive My Car” and others singing “Nowhere Man” and “In My Life.” Sunday, they present The Byrds’ “Sweethearts of the Rodeo,” which is considered the fist country-rock album in country history. Chris Hillman, original member of The Byrds and founder of the Desert Rose Band, which plays at 4 p.m. Sunday, will breathe new life into “Sweethearts of the Rodeo” by lending his artistry to The Long Players at noon.The Long Players include Bill Lloyd, who scored hits with his country-rock duo Foster and Lloyd in the 1980s; Steve Allen (from Los Angeles power-pop icons 20/20); Steve Ebe (from Memphis rock band Human Radio); John Deaderick (sideman to Michael McDonald, Dixie Chicks, Patty Griffin and more); and Garry Tallent (of Bruce Springsteen’s E. Street band).The Long Players began packing clubs and theaters in Nashville in 2004, with the band’s faithful renditions of classic albums. Though other outfits do the same, the Long Players keep it local and rare.”We don’t just learn an album and tour it like a karaoke band,” Lloyd said. “It’s largely a Nashville thing because everyone has session work. So the band gets together just to celebrate an album … We generally do it for the love of it.”And once they perform it, they rarely return to it, unless it’s a special request for a private party.Another special treat at Copper Country comes in the form of Lloyd taking the stage with Radney Foster, his old partner from the 1980s. The duo had a successful run, releasing four albums, then decided they had “run their course” together – at least for the time being – so they focused on solo careers and other projects, as well as being family men. Now, 20 years later, they’ve been teaming up to write songs.”Maybe we’ve got another record,” Lloyd said, describing their latest sound as “a little denser and a little more rock (oriented) … It’s probably what we’d have done if we could have gotten away with it (in the 1980s).””(Copper County) is not just for country lovers,” Burwell said. “It’s diverse. There’s really no limitations. If you watch it start to finish, I think you’ll see a fantastic afternoon of music that you won’t be able to see anywhere else, with singer collaborations and surprises.”
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