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The Copper Smoke Trials Have Something To Say, Not To Prove

Alyssa Leicht
Special to Iowa Public Radio
Cedar Falls based band The Copper Smoke Trials recently released a self-titled, debut album.

Cedar Falls based band The Copper Smoke Trials released their debut, full-length album a month ago this week. 

The self-titled record, "The Copper Smoke Trials," is available on all streaming platforms, and the band is offering a free download of the album on their website.

"We were trying to do a little bit more of an honest, 'what we feel' instead of what sounds cool," said Clayton Ryan, the band's lead guitarist and frontman. "We have this unofficial slogan, 'music with a pulse.'"

The band has a blues, funk and roots rock sound, influenced by artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Rival Sons and Led Zeppelin.

The band was born two years ago as Ryan’s solo project. Organist Andrew Teutsch, bass player Andy Braught and drummer Trevor Ryan joined later. Teutsch described the new album as what was first a collection of songs that ended up turning into a larger overarching story.

"The main idea of the whole thing is kind of this boy growing up and being taught how to live a good life and kind of yearning for distant plans, but also the naivety and innocence and excitement of youth," he said. "Then it's juxtaposed at the end of the album with facing the harsher realities of life."

The band calculated that they spent more than 100 hours in the studio fine-tuning the album for release.

"It’s good to be on the other side and just listen to it as if we were people that just got presented the album," Ryan said. "Not have to do any work, just sit and listen. It's definitely a big weight off the shoulders."

For CST, songwriting is collaborative. According to Teutsch, one band member will present an idea to the rest of the band, and the rest will come together as a joint effort.

"It might take a couple of listens to deduce your own meaning from it. My favorite part is that people are going to take what they will from these songs, and that’s super cool," Ryan said. "It’s personal."

Upcoming dates for the Copper Smoke Trials:

  • June 29 @ The Des Moines Art Festival
  • June 30 @ Vaudeville Mews - Art Festival Closing Party
  • July 4 @ Save the Skate Park 3 - Cedar Falls
  • July 6 @ Allison - Open Mic with the Copper Smoke Trials
  • August 18 @ The Iowa State Fair

Clay Masters is the senior politics reporter for MPR News.