and wiser than ever”
Shemekia Copeland, the magisterial Chicago blues singer, comes on stronger, harder and wiser than ever in her incendiary new album, “America’s Child.”
Yes, listeners have come to expect fervent vocals, fierce delivery and true-to-the-blues music-making from Copeland. But this time around, she sounds hellbent on sending a message in an album to be released Friday (on Chicago’s Alligator Records).
Consider the opening track, “Ain’t Got Time for Hate,” sung to an unhurried but unstoppable backbeat. With a band churning behind her and radiant background vocals supplied by Mary Gauthier, Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Will Kimbrough and others, Copeland offers one raised-fist volley after another. Among them:
Black and white, brown or tan,
Every woman, child and man,
Rich or poor, gay and straight,
We ain’t got time for hate.
– “Ain’t Got Time for Hate,” by John Hahn & Will Kimbrough
That phrase, “Ain’t got time for hate,” drives the tune, recurring, anthem-like, as a statement of faith. Because the song opens the album, it sets the fiery tone for what’s to come, this music clearly designed to address the tenor of our times. (…)