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In the Beginning

Jamie Coletta (Publicist, SideOneDummy Records) on Beneath Medicine Tree

Copeland, 'Beneath Medicine Tree' (Militia, 2003)

http://sideonedummy.comTruth be told, the first album I ever actually purchased was Hanson's Middle of Nowhere in 1997. I'm 99% sure that I bought it with my mom's money anyway, so I'm fast forwarding a few years to when I was a little older and able to buy music with my minimum wage Dunkin' Donuts paycheck. With the recent news of esteemed emo-rock predecessors Copeland reuniting and self-releasing a new album later this year, I felt compelled to talk about their impeccable 2003 debut full-length, Beneath Medicine Tree, and why I have the image of its artwork permanently marked on my left arm.

I was 15 when I first heard Copeland. If you haven't heard it before, Beneath Medicine Tree is a highly-emotional collection of songs mostly inspired by love and loss. At the time, singer Aaron Marsh was dealing with the death of his grandmother amidst other things. My own grandfather had recently passed away and while memories are faint, I distinctly remember the immediate connection I felt with this album. I also remember how even years after his death, I'd wake up in the middle of the night to hear my mom, a total Daddy's girl, sobbing alone in her room. Marsh's words hit me hardest on those nights, as is displayed in the powerful "When Paula Sparks" when he hauntingly bellows out, "...ever since you went away, I miss you more every day."

Fast forward to college when I first met my fiancé. He's always been a huge music snob but back then, his preference leaned more towards metal. We bonded over our mutual passions, albeit totally opposite in genre, and tried to turn each other on to new bands. He played me Opeth while driving in the dark during frigid Connecticut winters, exposing me to an entirely new listening experience. Since Beneath Medicine Tree had remained a strong favorite of mine over the years and held such deep importance to me, it was something I just had to show him. Within one listen, he recognized the immense beauty behind the album. All musical differences aside, we were able to connect over the romantic nature of songs like "Brightest" and "There Cannot Be a Close Second," breathing light into an album that had previously represented only darkness.

There's something to be said for an album that can come in and out of your life and have completely different impacts each time. First, Beneath Medicine Tree resonated with me due to its deep, delicate subject matter and where I happened to be during that exact moment in time. Later, the very same collection of songs connected to me in a much more positive way, giving vibrant energy to a blossoming relationship and continuing to strengthen that bond with every spin since.

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