“Shemekia proves that all genres are rooted in the blues”

02 Shemekia Copeland © Photo Joseph A. Rosen - small

Shemekia Copeland © Photo Joseph A. Rosen

Copeland’s latest album Outskirts Of Love — a 2016 Grammy nominee — is a fitting example of her storytelling prowess and the narrative heritage of the blues. She covers “subjects that are not comfortable,” she says, including social injustice, date rape, and homelessness, packaging them into ballads that are catchy and soulful despite the dire themes. “Life is messy for everyone,” she says, “and on this record, everybody’s on the outskirts of something.”

Genre-wise, the record is also on the outskirts. Though it falls under the category of contemporary blues, the album ranges across country, jazz, Afrobeat, and rock’n’roll. “Everything comes from blues,” says Copeland. “So if I want to use a little country, a little gospel, a little soul, a little rock’n’roll, I should be able to do that because blues is the root of it all.” She even makes a lyrical reference to this in “Drivin’ Out of Nashville” when she coos, “Country music ain’t nothin’ but the blues with a twang.”

By Jessie Schiewe, in “Shemekia Copeland proves that all genres are rooted in the blues”, published by San Francisco Weekly, before Shemekia’s performance this Saturday, January 9th, at 8 PM at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, California.

Read the full review in SF WeeklyLOGO sf weekly