Clay Sopeland And 20 Paces Rock Under Saturday's Stars

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Clay Sopeland and 20 Paces will take the stage at 7 p.m. July 28 for the final performance of the 2007 Concert Under the Stars series in Green Valley Park.

The Rim Country's own Clay Sopeland and 20 Paces will take the stage at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 28 for the final performance of the 2007 Concert Under the Stars series in Green Valley Park.

Sopeland's vocals are backed by his brother Jake, who sings harmony and plays the guitar, drummer Wes Clark, bass player Jeremy Summers and lead guitarist Greig Perrin, who also sings harmony.

When they step onto the stage be prepared to rock out to tunes of Johnny Cash, the Eagles, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Three Doors Down.

"We may do an original song, but we mostly will play a variety of covers from classic country to modern rock," Sopeland said.

The band has played at local venues and original tunes on TV channels 3 and 12 and KNIX radio.

When Sopeland steps off stage, it is to his workshop, with its sandpaper, glue and other wood-working tools.

Sopeland is a "luthier," one who makes and repairs stringed instruments -- in this case, guitars.

Sopeland worked construction, played his guitars, and attended community college, but he had not chosen a career.

An opportune meeting with a woman who knew the owners of the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in the Valley and Sopeland had his career.

"I loved it right away," he said.

"It is amazing because it is so hard to make all the pieces come together and sound like a guitar," Sopeland said.

He hand-mills the wood of the instrument to exacting specifications and adds designs of precious stones, shells or complementary wood onto the body or neck.

His 9-year-old daughter Neve and 3-month-old son Tallon aren't ready for custom guitars of their own. But Neve is learning to play and both she and her brother love to listen.

"I probably couldn't do the music stuff I do without the support of my wife, Laci. She is my biggest fan and keeps me motivated," Sopeland said.

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