No Depression: “Still the same Shemekia, heart and soul intact, a proud spokesperson for all of us”

“I’m not like everybody else,” Shemekia Copeland announces rather unnecessarily on her latest, America’s Child. Copeland’s sound has always been unique, bold and brassy, attitude coming off her in waves. Since her ’98 debut, Turn The Heat Up, the 39-year-old singer has blasted through 6 records, produced with Dr. John, Steve Cropper and the Wood Brothers’ Oliver Wood. Will Kimbrough is the producer for number 8, her latest on Alligator. […]

This time out, Copeland has changed up a bit for a more Americana format, utilizing some special guests to aid and alter her sound. Former Carolina Chocolate Drop Rhiannon Giddens drops in for some African banjo on “Smoked Ham and Peaches.” Emmylou Harris sings background on a couple of tunes, as does John Prine, also featured in a duet with Copeland on “Great Rain.” Legendary Shack Shakers wildman J.D. Wilkes contributes harp to a couple of tracks, and Steve Cropper lends lead guitar to a track.

But just as she professes, nobody can change Copeland much. On “Ain’t Got No Time For Hate,” the content sounds like Mavis Staples, Kimbrough even capturing a taste of Pop’s guitar sound. But Copeland is still herself, powering through it with gospel fervor delivered with enough projection to reach the back rows or nosebleed seats anywhere she shows up. […]

Although its a bit of different direction, its still the same Shemekia, heart and soul intact, a proud spokesperson for all of us.

By Grant Britt. Read the full review on No Depression.

And listen to Ain’t Got Time For Hate, the first song to be released from the upcoming America’s Child album, to be released on August 3.