Copper & Coal
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Copper & Coal

Portland, Oregon, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Portland, Oregon, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Country Americana




"Copper & Coal Pay Homage to George Jones"

One of the late, great country legends is getting a West Coast salute with Deer Lodge: A Tribute to George Jones. Drawing on talent from the Pacific Northwest, the eclectic collection ensures that the Possum gets a rousing, heartfelt send-off from the area’s admirers.

The Portland, Oregon-based duo Copper & Coal chose to record the sentimental classic “Walk Through This World With Me” for the project. Leslie Beia, the red-headed “Copper” member of the group, told CMT Edge she is often drawn to Jones’ saddest songs but decided to take a different approach.

“As a huge George Jones fan, I am especially fond of the really, really heartbreaking tunes,” she said. “‘Things Have Gone to Pieces’ is a song I’ve been singing for years that I love to pull out around 3 a.m. when I’m picking with folks. … ‘The Grand Tour’ is another wrenching favorite. So when asked to pick one song, it was hard not to go there. But I decided it would probably provide a nice contrast to do this really sweet, no-holds-barred love song.”

The duo lend a distinct feminine touch to the tune, which was a No. 1 hit for Jones in 1967.

“I’m not sure I could make an argument one way or another as to whether George is more suited to heartbreak songs or love songs, but if I had to lean one way, I’d say his voice is just unmatched for the former,” Beia said. “And female harmonies have a certain innate sweetness that I think is really suited to this type of tune.”

Although “Walk Through This World With Me” was written by two women — Kay Savage and Sandra Seamons — it is unusual for a female artist to revive the romantic song.

“I guess I haven’t heard any women cover it either. I wonder why that is? In any case, covering George is a formidable task, and even though we keep the instrumentation and feel very similar, if I were a solo male singer, I don’t think I’d even try to carry it off!” Beia stated. “Just by virtue of being who we are, we are able to lend the song a slightly different feel without veering too far from the original.”

Beia said she came to learn about traditional country through old-time and bluegrass music, while Carra Stasney – her brunette “Coal” counterpart – discovered it through folk music and singers like Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. Together, their admiration for the golden era country is evident. Check out Copper & Coal’s rendition of “Walk Through This World With Me.” - CMT Edge

"Saving Country Music's 45 Essential Albums 2013"

Copper & Coal ranked #6 - Saving Country Music

"Third Coast Music Annual Best-of List"

Made 'Best Debut Album' category, 2013 - Third Coast Music

"Freeform Americana Radio (FAR) Charts"

October 2013: #15
November 2013: #10
December 2013: #1 - Third Coast Music

"Third Coast Music Cover Story, December 2013"

From time to time, I’ve thought of doing a Why Austin? feature, with particular reference to that pesky supply>demand problem (I’m told Asheville, NC, is now in the same boat), but where do you start? With Copper & Coal—and I will stipulate right now that the name, taken from Leslie Beia being a redhead and Carra Stasney a brunette, is too precious for words—I have a really interesting case study in relocation. Both women started out in their native Michigan and moved to Portland, OR, the twist being that they never crossed paths while they were performing in Lansing and moved away at different times for different places yet somehow wound up as a Northwest duo many years later.
Beia, an East Lansing native, started out at 17 with The Jawas, who covered The Grateful Dead but apparently not the first two albums or Garcia’s side projects (“It didn’t get me all the way to country, old time, blues, etc as it should have”). She left Lansing in 1997 “because my older friends had already moved west and it was just such a natural progression… I wanted mountains.” She lived in shacks outside small towns in Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho and Washington, “not playing music, at least not with any focus, all those years. I started hanging out at The Landmark Saloon when I came to Portland, which became more and more frequent, and by the time I officially moved into town I had a band and a weekly gig going, which we’ve been doing about two years, my first experience fronting a band. Portland was a great town to stumble into at the right time!”
In 2003, while at Michigan State, Stasney, from Detroit, fell in with Lansing honky-tonkers The Ingham County Regulars, singing harmony with Jennie Knaggs (now of Lac La Belle) on classic covers and her own original songs, later forming the short-lived American Cosmos, which opened for Bobby Bare Jr and Robbie Fulks before she moved to San Diego. “I made my rent busking, playing classic country and folk songs at farmers markets. I attempted to start a country band there, but there were not enough strong players interested in that kind of music. I left Lansing because I was done with school and wanted to be with my boyfriend. After we split up, I considered Detroit, but would have had to live with my parents because employment was so scarce. I considered Seattle and other places I toured as a singer-songwriter, but knew from experience that I’m not a big city girl. I was drawn to Portland because it had a vibrant music scene, affordable rent and employment opportunities.”
However, it would be six more years before Knaggs suggested she look up an old schoolmate who was playing country music in Portland. “I contacted Leslie and went out to the Landmark Saloon to see her Monday night band, Saturday Night Drive. It was love at first sight! To me, Leslie looked like my copper haired twin sister. She was tall, gorgeous and sang sweetly as opposed to the belting I’ve seen a lot of female classic country singers do. For a second I thought, ‘Well, I can just go home and give up. She’s already doing what I do,’ but then we decided to get together and sing a bit. It was hard at first because our voices were so similar that we had trouble finding separate parts. Gradually my range became much higher, while Leslie expanded her lower register. Now, we’ve both stretched so much that she is occasionally singing above me, or we switch low to high mid song. It makes our blend so strong that my mother can’t always tell which voice is me.”
“I sang harmony on Mondays with Leslie’s band and then offered the idea of starting a duo fronted band doing original music. I wrote Kentucky Blue as the first song for our possible band. Luckily she loved it and we started writing and gathering musicians.”
There are two ways of approaching the women’s eponymous debut. One is simply as a close harmony duo, and you need look no further than the only cover among the ten tracks, Dagger Through The Heart, done in classic country style rather than bluegrass, as on Dolly Parton’s original version. One thing that really caught my eye in their one-sheet was that The Davis Sisters, not a name you hear often enough, were listed as an influence. Like Beia and Stasney, Betty Jack & Skeeter were not actually sisters (incidentally, though from Kentucky, their first singles were on Detroit’s Fortune Records).
The other way is as a fabulous close harmony duo with terrific original songs, seven by Stasney, two by Beia. If I had just four quarters to put into The Roxy Diner’s three-for-a-dollar jukebox, the first track I’d punch up would be Stasney’s Long Story Short, and if I only had twelve, I really don’t know which one I’d skip. With special mention of fiddle monster Luke Price, Caleb Klauder’s production does this wonderful duo justice and then some.

John Conquest - Third Coast Music

"Saving Country Music Album Review"

Some musical performers entertain, while others stun. With instincts for blending harmony normally only reserved for siblings, the stunning female vocal duo of Copper & Coal from Portland, Oregon breathe new life into an old-style of honky tonk music with their sultry original compositions of lost and found love, and wild adventures of the heart. Their name derived from the raven and red hair that crown these nearly six-foot beauties and the eternal rural themes of culling the earth of its resources that have lend so many stories and so much inspiration to the country music canon over the years, Copper & Coal’s Leslie Beia and Carra Stasney are something to behold, commanding attention with their Siren-like countenance, crafty lyrics, and seamless delivery.

Matched with these girls to lend both his wisdom and talent to their first, self-titled release is the incomparable Caleb Klauder cast as producer, assembling an impressive group of side players and offering his impressive breadth of knowledge about the modes of American roots music to the process. It all combines to make an album that is engaging, classic, and refreshing all at the same time, and something that once again reinforces that it is women at the forefront of saving country music.

Copper & Coal have graciously offered us all a free listen of their new album, but if you find it is something that speaks to you, you are encouraged to support this music by purchasing it for your very own. -

"MoonRunners Album Review"

There's been a lot of talk recently about the perceived lack of a strong female presence in country music. This criticism stems from both the lack of women on country radio and the objectification of women in both the lyrics and music videos of the genre's most prominent male artists (the days of Johnny & June and Waylon & Jessi are long gone). As far as top 40 radio goes, I have to admit that this is true, but that begs the question of why the hell anybody in 2013 is still listening to country radio to find country music. And what self-respecting artist (male or female) would want to be played on the same radio format as Luke Bryan anyway?

Which brings me to the debut album from Copper & Coal, a country duo from Portland, Oregon-via-Lansing, Michigan who are a throwback to the golden-age honky tonk of Hank Thompson, Faron Young, and Webb Pierce, with plenty of Kitty Wells attitude thrown in for good measure.

Gorgeous harmonies, excellent musicianship and fine songwriting (mostly courtesy of duo members Carra Stasney and Leslie Beia, but with a cover of one of country's greatest songwriters, Dolly Parton, as well) are the rule here and it should come as no surprise that the record was produced by Portland's reigning country music King Caleb Klauder, a man who doesn't get nearly the attention he deserves, even in underground circles.

From uptempo honky tonk numbers such as the album-opening "Good Time Gal," "I Can't Believe I've Fallen" (a mildly bluegrass-flavored tune featuring Klauder on mandolin), and "The Whole Damn Bottle," to beautiful ballads like "Kentucky Blues" and "Wandering Eyes, Roving Hands," where their harmonies really get a chance to shine, these ladies do one hell of a job demonstrating everything country music once was and what it can be again if only the skinny-jean wearing douchebags would hop in their four-wheel drives and get the fuck back to their dirt roads.

It's also refreshing to find an album that knows how to leave the listener wanting more. In this day and age of bloated 80-minute running times, half of the 10 tracks here clock in at under three minutes in length, just like my old Ernest Tubb records.

So for fans of traditional country looking for their next fix, this is probably the best debut album of 2013 and I, for one, look forward to seeing where these ladies go from here. Talent like this is a rare thing and it's great to see it being used to promote real, heartfelt and honest country music. -

"Portland honky-tonk band Copper and Coal impresses | Concert review"

Whenever I cover a mainstream country show, I always see a handful of folks spill into the aisles to dance along, but it never lasts long. The arena-rock stylings of top-40 country pop just aren’t that conducive to dancing.

Maybe that’s why folks have long made the Little Red Hen the place to go in Seattle for those who want to hear traditional country music and stretch their legs on the dance floor. It was certainly the case Thursday night when Portland honky-tonkers Copper and Coal took the urban roadhouse’s tiny stage.

From the moment that Leslie Beia and Carra Barratt Stasney started singing “Long Story Short,” their original tune detailing a cheating lover’s lies, the dance floor was packed with an impressive array of older folks and plenty of young dancers as well.

Other standouts such as “Dreamin’ Ain’t Waltzin’” and “I Love A Gambler” did the trick as well. It was the rare show where to get a good view of the band, you had to be out on the hardwood.

And why not? The music was too good to not at least dance on your bar stool, as I was doing until a kind older gentleman insisted I take his wife onto the dance floor. She was forgiving as my two left feet clunked their way through Stasney’s sweet “Kentucky Blue,” which achieved the rarity of sounding new and old simultaneously.

Beia and Stasney have the perfect voices to compliment each other. They sing delicate harmonies and sound like they’ve been singing together for a lot longer than about a year and a half. In fact, the only time the show lulled just slightly was when they took turns taking a break from singing to hit the dance floor. With just one voice, something was missing.

In between sets, I joined Beia outside and she told me that she’s a grad student and Stasney is a teacher. Neither of them have any aspirations to make music their profession; the band is just a side project because they love the style of music so much and love playing together.

There aren’t many side projects that sound this good. There also aren’t many people who live in rural areas but find they have to move to Portland, Ore., of all places to start a country band, but Beia said it was only after moving to the Rose City that she was able to get involved with the right project.

Stasney, the main songwriter, said that now that the band has made their traditional country album she’d like to do something a little more experimental in terms of themes while still maintaining the band’s established sound. In the meantime, she’s already written some pretty terrific songs to revel in. - Seattle Times/Owen R. Smith

"Urban Cowgirls: Copper & Coal's Elemental Country"

Portland purveryors of honky tonk and western swing Copper & Coal put on a show last night at The Little Red Hen, but then again so did the audience. At points it became hard to tell who was entertaining who, with singers Carra Stasney and Leslie Beia taking leave of the stage to two step with the audience on the dancefloor. “We don’t get dancing like this in Portland” Leslie said “we’ve been wanting to play here a long time because of this."

Walking into The Little Red Hen was a bit like taking a trip back to my southwestern raisin’. One second you’re on the streets of Greenlake, then you go over that threshold and un-ironically worn cowboy hats and boots abound. It’s not all for show either (or maybe it is) because these folks were chomping at the bit, hand in hand, impatient at the gate for that first peal of the pedal steel, and from the first note of “Long Story Short” they scooted around the dancefloor and the dancing did not cease. Between songs, people could be seen with a beer in one hand and a whiskey in the other, but not a single misstep could be detected. There was twirling, and dipping, and when the band played “Dreamin Ain’t Waltzin,” they waltzed.

As soon as someone would sit they’d be asked again to dance—ten minutes into the show, an octogenarian in shorts and dress shoes (and black ankle socks, you already know) challenged my manhood for not dancing. Since I’ve spent more time standing in cowshit in the hot southwestern sun than most people have spent listening to country, I politely explained I wasn’t the dancing kind of cowboy. He then let me know that my date would rather I was. Aside from the mild harassment, I must say many it was great fun watching all the people put in a good three hours of dancing last night from the sidelines.

Oh, and then there was the band, who played nearly every song on their album over two sets for their CD-release party between covering the greats. I heard Johnny Rodriguez, Kitty Wells, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Buck Owens, and Sam Cooke (apparently "Cupid" cues a swirlirng dancefloor step that involves curtsys and bows, who knew?). Stasney and Beia are pitch perfect band leaders working with outstanding players. I hadn’t noticed much on initial listens to the album, but the fiddle player’s presence and invaluable contribution is obvious live. He put in a riotous set without resorting to any sort of dazzling array or speedy showmanship. I thought maybe credit was due to the glass of whiskey neat I saw the bartender comp him, but on subsequent listens to the album his work is readily apparent. Notably absent was the studio Accordion playing of Cajun great Jesse Lege on their more Cajun numbers, but the band had plenty to love. - Seattle Stranger/Sean Jewell

"I Was Into Copper & Coal When Country Wasn't Cool"

"Based out of the south of the Northwest (aka Portland, Oregon), this duo is set to get troglodytes tripping all over their Tony Lamas shouting about the resurrection of Loretta, Dolly, and the good ol days. What’s important to know about Copper and Coal, though, is they write all their own material (!), their self-titled debut was produced by master musician Caleb Klauder, and features a twangy, world-class band, bending notes double-four time underneath harmonies that fly higher than Gram Parsons on a heroin bender. Expect to hear happy songs about cheatin’ and honky tonks about mistreatin’". - Seattle Stranger/Sean Jewell

"Caleb Klauder - Producer, Songwriter, Band Leader for Foghorn String Band and Caleb Klauder Country Band"

Copper and Coal has found a way to offer up creative new songs within a genre that is so narrowly defined such as country music. This duo has assembled an A-team band that has great passion and a perfect approach to the music they are playing. Copper and Coal is a hard working band that is focused with a clear goal and they have the talent to back it up. I am honored to have worked on the debut album from this band, Copper and Coal. - Caleb Klauder


Copper & Coal: self-titled debut album, 2013



It's a rare band that transcends its time and place to sound totally at home in another era. But when you listen to the debut album from Portland, Oregons vintage country songstresses Copper & Coal, you just might swear you're hearing it through a jukebox in a roadside diner, somewhere off Route 66 in the 1950s. A powerhouse collaboration between singers Carra Stasney and Leslie Beia one brunette and one redhead, both Michiganders packing elegantly expressive pipes, and both nearly 6 feet tall Copper & Coal captures the spirit of classic country duos with a contemporary West Coast sensibility. On their album, Carra and Leslies voice swing and sway in tight harmony over soaring steel guitar lines and old-school country fiddling. Their songwriting sounds freshly conversational even as it saunters its way through the familiar territory of honky-tonk, heartache, and the man who done you wrong. Produced by Portland roots icon Caleb Klauder (of Foghorn Stringband and the Caleb Klauder Country Band), the album features stellar guest artists on mandolin, fiddle, pedal steel, dobro, even Cajun accordion from master musician Jesse Lege.

Carra and Leslie met in Portland, but both cut their teeth gigging in Lansing, MI. When a mutual friend put them in touch last year, the musical chemistry was instant.
Their voices were just meant to go together - "Sometimes I can't tell my voice from hers," says Carra. They started sitting in on each others solo sets, and Carra wrote Kentucky Blue, a soaring harmony ode to the open road, inspired by their collaborations. The duo debuted at the 2012 Siren Nations Dolly Parton tribute appropriately enough, as the great Dolly herself ranks alongside Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, and the Davis Sisters as Copper & Coals favorite influences. Since then Carra and Leslie gigged throughout the saloons and barrooms of Portlands burgeoning roots county scene, and performed at the 2013 West Coast Country Music Festival.

Their debut album features mostly original songwriting, but its like an instant portal into a Saturday night party back at that Route 66 roadhouse. Paying homage to the harmony sister duets of the golden age of country, songs like Faraway Places and I Cant Believe Ive Fallen show Carra and Leslies fidelity to the country swing tunes and ballads that inspire them. In "Dreamin' Ain't Waltzin'," Carra tips her hat to country legends Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, and Link Davis as she imagines dancing with each of them in a dream. Swinging from raucous to mournful, heartbreak ballads like I Love A Gambler and Dolly Partons Dagger Through the Heart will have you searching your pockets for change to make one long-distance call back home. But Copper & Coal is here to lift your spirits and shake the dust off your boots, too. Good Time Gal just defies the listener not to tap their feet and sing along. Why even try? Give in to the charms of these sweet voices, shuffle a little two-step around the jukebox, and kick your heels up alongside the ghosts of Hank and Kitty.

Band Members