“Her voice is like thunder”

When she first came along, someone matter-of-factly called Shemekia Copeland “the Future of Blues.” She’s lived up to that ever since. When she sings at a gig, her voice is like thunder. Complete with lightning.

[…] What’s been more and more characteristic of the songs she sings is that she sings about the real world that’s happening all around us, and that’s especially so about the new album.

Gravitas is not a word that usually shows up when talking about the blues, and yet no other music is as seriously profound about life. The broken hearts of love gone wrong. The anger that comes when feeling lost in a bottle or a gutter.

The songs that she sings on Outskirts of Love, especially songs written for Shemekia by producer John Hahn and guitarist Oliver Wood, get even deeper into troubles being faced more and more today. Being abused and waking up on Crossbone Beach. Helplessly living in a Cardboard Box. […] Not that the songs are all so deeply dark. Shemekia also gets in some laughs about the music biz, like the song Driving Out of Nashville —where country music “ain’t nothing but blues with a twang!”

Michael Bourne, host of WBGo’s Blues Hour and Singers Unlimited.

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