Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CD Review – Trail of Dreams, by 2002

With this album, Pamela and Randy Copus’s daughter Sarah joins the family’s musical fray as a featured vocalist and harpist, adding an intriguing new dimension to the veteran new age music group as it transforms from a dynamic duo into a tremendous trio.
The record wastes no time in introducing us to Sarah’s beautiful voice, starting right off with the 10-year-old musician’s pearly pipes. Indeed, the young singer’s talents combined with her parents’ accomplished vocals and instrumentation result in what I can only imagine Heaven on Earth sounds like – except I don’t have to imagine it when I can hear it right on this CD.
What really impresses me about Sarah’s angelic tones is that they are the result of her just singing in her natural voice, without any attempt whatsoever to go over the top with the hysterical vocal histrionics that have become de rigueur for much of today’s bland and soulless pop music. This alone not only makes her one of the better child singers of all time, but also one of the better singers of any age and era.
This is where I might be expected to write the time-honored cliché that, with the addition of Sarah, 2002 has never sounded better. That would be nice to say but not true, since 2002 has never sounded less than exceptional. But Sarah’s unique contributions to the group definitely take it to all-new highs.
As always, Pamela and Randy excel in their long-held roles. After all, they built 2002’s classic, lush sound, with Sarah adding new layers. Pamela plays harp, flute, and keyboards and harmonizes beautifully with her daughter. Randy handles guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, and vocals. Randy sings lead on the title track and features prominently on album closer “Ever Onward.” Both tunes could very well be songs by progressive rockers Yes, especially due to the vocal harmonies and the fact that Randy sounds similar to Yes vocalist Jon Anderson.
If this album is any indication, 2002 shows no signs of leveling off or slowing down. In fact, they’re just getting started on yet another chapter of their long and winding magic carpet ride. Whether you’ve been with them from the beginning or are boarding for the first time, it’s a musical trip well worth taking.
--Raj Manoharan

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