American Blues Scene: “A light on social injustice, racism, today’s political climate”

In the earlier days of Americana and folk music, making social and political statements was the very backbone of the genre. Woodie Guthrie was an absolute master of the craft. His son Arlo’s iconic, anti-war “Alice’s Restaurant” continued in that tradition. Over the years however, Americana has become less and less political. That is until now. Copeland brings it back, shining a light on social injustice, racism, today’s political climate and more, all without beating the listener over the head with it. 

“John and I discussed it,” Copeland shared. “I had just had my baby and I was concerned about the world I had brought him into. What things would he have to endure? Would things be better for him than for me, or worse? It’s not looking great right now, and that’s really sad. I didn’t want that, but obviously I remain hopeful for him.” (…) 

From beginning to end, one can feel the influence of Shemekia’s son on America’s Child. It truly is a love story. Each song, each performance was done with him in mind. Did that happen organically as well we wondered? For example, does she really sing the traditional “Go to Sleep Little Baby,” from the album to him?

“All the time,” she replied. “Most every night. For the album, we’re always looking to do something different. On this one, I start with him and I end with him. ‘Where’s your wings little angel/my sweet baby child/how you gonna live in world gone wild?’ That’s how I started it. I end it with ‘Go to Sleep Little Baby’.”

By JD Nash, who interviewed Shemekia Copeland about her latest album, America’s Child. Read the full story in American Blues Scene