US (Pittsburgh) based artist, Copperstone, have a new single out today, My Old Friend, and we’ve been taking a long detailed listen here at the Send Me Your Ears studio. My Old Friend is a gentle ballad – a nostalgic trip down memory lane about the loss of a beloved pet. It’s quite the tear jerker, but it also somehow manages to lift you with some superb instrumentation.
The acoustic picking in My Old Friend is a real joy to listen to. It feels a little like the guitarist may be about to launch into a John Prine number. When the vocals come in, however, the style is very much of a storytelling feel that you might find with the likes of Ralph McTell.
My Old Friend is an interesting track to review. It sits at a perfect radio friendly length of 3 minutes, but half of the track is taken up with some gorgeous instrumental (more on that later). That in itself leads us to think that this track is absolutely perfect sync material for a TV show. Tracks with this kind of organic acoustic instrumentation are being absolutely lapped up by the likes of AMC and BBC at the moment. It reminded us in many ways of the theme tune to the BBC show The Detectorists.
For air play it may have perhaps been nice to see a little more development earlier in the song, but the change of pace and feel that this song has when it becomes just instrumental really took us on a journey. This is a quality number that we’ve all kinda fallen in love with.
At around 2 minutes 20 there’s what initially feels like an out of place, very heavily driven electric guitar, but as you adjust to the change, you realise it’s genius. It takes the song to a whole new level of individuality and just as we were smiling and nodding at the uniqueness of the change of pace, the most sublime piano solo takes over and takes the song to the fade out ending.
From a production perspective, this is an interesting one. The track is a good volume and nicely in line with commercial releases. However, when My Old Friend is just guitar and vocals, the track is completely mono. We’d suggest in future considering using 2 mics panned on the guitar track next time and perhaps some stereo reverbs on the vocals to give just a touch more wideness to the song. Some DAWs have a stereo spread or widener plug in – perhaps consider experimenting with these. We’d also suggest a high pass as high as 70Hz as there’s very little but rumble in the track below 70Hz and filtering this out should clean everything up and make it sparkle even more.
Copperstone’s My Old Friend really is a beautiful and heartfelt track. It has some superb musicianship and a touch of comfortable nostalgia that makes you feel as though you’re in the presence of something really quite special. We’d love to hear more from Copperstone.