Beverly Glenn-Copeland today announces his long-awaited new album,The OnesAhead, due out 28th July via Transgressive and available to preorder HERE. The Ones Ahead is Glenn-Copeland’s first studio LP in almost 20 years and the first since the extraordinary career renaissance triggered by the rediscovery of his now-classicKeyboard Fantasies album. To accompany the announcement Glenn-Copeland has shared lead track and album opener “Africa Calling”, a spirited, polyrhythmic song that honours Glenn-Copeland’s West African heritage. Listen HERE.
Commenting on the track Glenn-Copeland says: “In the ‘80s I had the honour of performing with an incredible artist named Dido, a master of the drums indigenous toWest Africa. The beauty of this drumming tradition is explored in ‘Africa Calling’. Over the years, in many conversations, I have come to understand thatI share an undefinable, unnamed feeling--a calling--with many other members of the African diaspora, a bone-deep need to explore and express our heritage. Alongside the grief, there is a longing to know our roots, hidden from us as family lines were torn apart in the terrible days of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. In a world still caught in the ties of colonialism, I know I am not alone in needing to heed the call of this generations-old longing.”Glenn-Copeland recordedThe Ones Ahead in collaboration with producer John Herbermann and Indigo Rising (Bianca Palmer, Jeremy Costello, Nick Dourado, Carlie Howell and Kurt Inder),the band who accompanied him on his inaugural Europeantour, whose playing lends a cinematic richness to these intricately textured electroacoustic arrangements. The album was recorded in a remote studio in NovaScotia in late 2021, then finished in 2022, with Herbermann recording live from the floor, capturing the dynamic interplay among the group.
In the tumult of this world, there are constants. People need each other. Every motion brushes against others, moving. None of us are siloed and none of us are still. The music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland drinks deeply from these truths. For decades, thePhiladelphia-born, Canada-based singer, songwriter, and composer has drawn myriad musical practices toward a single, luminous conviction: that music can shake us loose from what closes us off from each other. His multifaceted body of work surrenders to the beauty, pain, and great capacity for healing that courses through life; in its unguarded sincerity, it invites you to share in its courage. Glenn-Copeland's new album,The Ones Ahead--his first collection of new music in nearly two decades--deepens these explorations, casting searching light into how all of us must dissolve the harms of this world and carry each other forward into the next.
The songs onThe Ones Ahead draw from a wealth of traditions, from American jazz to Irish fiddle songs to West African percussion. Some like ‘No Other’ and ‘Stand Anthem’, were originally born as parts of song cycles and stage plays. Glenn-Copeland writes with an ear to what he calls the UniversalBroadcasting System, receiving transmissions from the vibrations of the world around him and faithfully transcribing them. “The UBS sends what it wants, and like a good servant, I listen and write what I am given”, he says. Many of these songs came to him in the mid-2010s, around the time his music began to reach its intergenerational and intercontinental audience.The Ones Ahead weaves together poignant themes: the need for love and mutual care in the face of destruction and uncertainty, the power people have when they reach out for each other, the ways that the wisdom of past generations can guide us along the path forward. On ‘Stand Anthem’, written as part of a collaboration with his wife and longtime creative partner Elizabeth for an eco-play called Bearing Witness, Glenn-Copeland calls upon the power of the human collective to right the course of the worldtoward sustainable survival. At a time when choosing the right thing can feel impossibly complex, ‘Stand Anthem’ clarifies a simple emotional call: “We have only one action / We have only one heart / Stand!” Glenn-Copeland urges with his Indigo Rising band mates. The album’s title track bridges the music’s deep historical roots and the vast future to which it gestures. “The title of this song refers to two things: the generations to come and those in the unseen world that guide us: our ancestors, our spiritual guides.Whether or not we believe in them, they are there for us every minute of every day. All they need is for us to ask for their help,” Glenn-Copeland says. “As the old world crumbles, a new world is waiting to be born. All of our various strengths are needed.The generations of those yet to come are calling us forward.
From the stirring, rapturous ‘People of the Loon’ to the gorgeously flowing ‘PrinceCaspian's Dream,’TheOnes Ahead cultivates a vibrant hope for this world and what it must become to survive. A new chapter in an expansive and unique body of work,Glenn-Copeland’s latest album offers flowering wisdom for the world to come, needed now more urgently than ever.