Reading Eagle: “A genre-bending plunge deep into the American psyche”

The last couple of years haven’t exactly been business as usual for Shemekia Copeland (…) For starters, on Christmas Eve 2016, she gave birth to her first child, Johnny, named after her Blues Hall-of-Famer father, Johnny Clyde Copeland.

Then, inspired by her baby’s presence in her world, she went to work on “America’s Child,” 12 no-holds-barred tracks recorded in Nashville, Tenn., with producer Will Kimbrough and a host of head-turning guest artists including John Prine and Mary Gauthier. What resulted was a genre-bending plunge deep into the American psyche at a moment in time when the nation needs all the self-reflection it can get.

On a rare break from touring —she has played 40 shows since releasing the album in August— Copeland answered the phone on Election Day morning having just returned from voting in her hometown of Chicago. 

She said she was hoping the results that were to come that night would yield change, which is not surprising to anyone who has seen her CD’s cover photo of an African-American child draped in an American flag, or heard the song “Ain’t Got Time for Hate.” (…) “I felt like that song made a statement about what this record is about: our country and what (our country) is all about,” Copeland said. “And (hate) is not what we’re about. We’re about love and inclusion.”

By Don Botch, before Shemekia headlines the Reading Blues Fest Finale, on Sunday, November 18. Read the full story in the Reading Eagle.