Album of the year in the UK!

“What an incredible year of the blues! […] It wouldn’t have been such a great year for blues without the 50 quality releases that we’ve selected as the best of 2015, which you’ll find on the following pages. Unlike previous years, this time we’ve numbered them in descending order and, for the first time, selected an album of the year,” writes The Blues Magazine‘s editor Ed Mitchell.

And for the British magazine, this album of the year is… Outskirts of Love! 

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Tackling subjects such as date rape and homelessness, yet with a deft touch and upbeat tone, Copeland’s eighth album is a mature masterpiece of modern blues.

Recorded in Nashville with her team of John Hahn and Oliver Wood, Shemekia Copeland’s Outskirts of Love is a sure sign of an evolving artist. Across the seven albums that preceded it, Copeland, daughter of Texas blues icon Johnny Copeland, has stepped in and out of almost every genre under the sun, weaving country, gospel and more into her bedrock of blues.

It’s a mix that has paid dividends, hence the record’s place at the top of our chart. Not only is it a musically mature album, it’s also one that pulls no punches. Lyrically it hits hard, especially when dealing with issues like date rape (on Crossbone Beach), but it still retains Copeland’s trademark uplifting sound and never fails to leave the listener with a smile on their face.

There are also brave choices in cover versions, most notably by taking on Devil’s Hand, one of her late father’s famed recordings. In fact, not only does she take the song on, but she makes it her own. Now that’s the sign of a true artist, and also a worthy Album Of The Year award winner.

By Rich Chamberlain, who follows up with an in-depth interview of Shemekia.

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