01/02: Steven Copes
Previous Years' Lists
Valerie is a recent transplant from Arizona who brings with her a generous supply of energy and enthusiasms, including these musical ones.
These recordings are available from
1. Sacred Treasures
(Hearts of Space 11109)
This is a collection of Russian Orthodox liturgical music. I stumbled across it back in Flagstaff when I was always on the lookout for new pledge-drive thank-you CDs. I wondered briefly about the possibility of limited appeal, given its religious nature and our diverse public radio audience. But, it absolutely transcends denomination and affiliation, reaching inside at a very universal, mystical level. The settings of "Gospodi pomilui" (the Russian equivalent of the Kyrie) are breathtaking.
2. Emmylou Harris: Red Dirt Girl
This disc manages to be lushly produced and gritty at the same time. "Hour of Gold" is dark and eerie; "Michaelangelo" is suffused with lovely sweet heartache; "One Big Love" is just a flat-out fun groove with sassy lyrics ("No sense defendin' your honor / Just go on an' kiss him if ya wanna") but the grabber is "Bang the Drum Slowly"Emmylou's elegy for her father…a wrenching, haunting list of questions never asked, stories never told, kindnesses never realized: "I meant to ask you how to plow that field / I meant to bring you water from the well / And be the one beside you when you fell / Could you tell?"
3. The Crystal Method: Tweekend
What can I say? This is loud, obnoxious electronica. Tons of fun ... just not for the whole family.
4. Rickie Lee Jones: Pop Pop
Let me be the first to say that there's no middle of the road when it comes to Rickie Lee's style: You either love it or hate it. If you hate it, this album of jazz standards is the musical equivalent of having knitting needles thrust repeatedly into your eyes. Butif you love her, as I do, you'll be smitten from the first forlorn line of "My One & Only Love" all the way through the aching "Coming Back To Me." In between, a delightful romp through "Dat Dere" with daughter Charlotte and my all-time favorite cover of "I'll Be Seeing You."
5. Rickie Lee Jones: Girl at Her Volcano
This is an old EP of RLJ's, not available on CD in the United States. I wore out 4 or 5 cassettes before finding a Japanese-released CD version. I lost it somehow but was presented with a new copy for Christmas, so I'm playing it non-stop. It's a bittersweet album with covers of "My Funny Valentine," "Walk Away Renee," "Lush Life" and a remarkable torch song called "Somethin' Cool." Dreamy. My very favorite chord in the whole world is tucked into her cover of "Under the Boardwalk."