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SoundCheck: Luna J. pays respect to area musicians through YouTube show

Luna J.
Courtesy of Bryan Copeland

Studio Live back this Friday, April 8, 2022 and local band Luna J. will serenade our airwaves. KSMU’s Jess Balisle sat down with guitarist and singer/songwriter Bryan Copeland a couple weeks ago to see what he and the band have been up to since we last had them on the show all the way back in 2014.

Copeland filled us in on his YouTube program, Words and Whiskey, which began in 2018.

“Words and Whiskey is a local musician spotlight basically where I discuss different avenues of people’s music and how they came across it, how they are inspired, all of that jazz,” said Copeland. “We discuss that in a YouTube conversation. And we also have paired with a local whiskey company called Ty Iechyd Da.”

“So, when we started it, we actually got together with the musicians and we were their backing band. So, we played their songs with them, recorded them live,” said Copeland.

You can find all episodes of Words and Whiskey on Luna J.’s YouTube channel, along with the separate videos of the band playing with guest musicians.

Once the pandemic started in early 2020, the show was derailed.

“Pandemic hit and kind of screwed us over for a little bit,” said Copeland. “Like, made it hard for us to figure out what was happening with the band and with everybody else. So, it was kind of a struggle for that 2020 year, but since then, I’ve tried to get it back online again.”

And things are looking up for the show. Previously sponsored by Copper Run, Words and Whiskey is now sponsored by Ty Iechyd Da, Springfield Brewing Company’s new distillery. Copeland is also considering expanding the reach of the show.

“We’re talking about setting up some shows and setting up that kind of thing with it,” said Copeland. “Possibly like a festival, something that we’ve discussed, where we have all the different artists from that in the festival kind of thing. I think that would be a cool thing.”

And he hopes to be able to add the music component back to the show with Luna J. backing up the guest musicians.

“It helped me in studio a lot, especially. But it helped us as a band in studio. We thought more about how we could fit this stuff together. But yeah, it’s just expanding upon what you already, you’re already good at this thing. You might as well try to be good at what all these other people do, too, that you respect. And you can also pay tribute to them by showing them, ‘I respect you enough to put this time in on your music. I sat down, I listened to your music, I put together what I thought would sound good for that song and did it.’ I think it’s a respect thing more than anything. That’s what I liked about it. That was the coolest part to me about it.”

Be sure to tune into Studio Live this Friday, April 8, 2022 at noon for Luna J. The band will then be at Tie & Timber for Studio Live Social Hour that night from 5 to 7 pm.

Jessica Gray Balisle, a Springfield native, grew up listening to KSMU. When she's not wrangling operations and compliance issues, she co-hosts live music show Studio Live and produces arts and culture stories. Jessica plays bass in local band the Hook Knives. She and her husband Todd live with their two cats, Ellie and Jean-Ralphio, and way too many house plants.