Big City Rhythm & Blues: “Shemekia sings of love and hope and acceptance”

Shemekia has said “country music ain’t nothin’ but the blues with a twang” and this American child is out to prove it. … 

Shemekia presents a message front and center with Kimbrough’s “Ain’t Got Time For Hate” adding Perkins’ pedal steel guitar, J. D. Wilkes harmonica and an eight piece vocal choir while Will’s “Would You Take My Blood” is stripped back to just the trio as she reaches out across this divided nation. Continuing their message of unity, Paul Franklin’s pedal steel guitar whines over a marching rhythm with Mary Gauthier, Emmylou Harris and Katie Pruitt singing the chorus as Shemekia runs through a roster of characters on Gauthier’s “Americans.” With the light touch of Giddens’ banjo and sparkle of Will’s National Guitar, Shemekia’s vocals quiver as she recalls simpler times with “Smoked Ham and Peaches” then she goes out honky tonking on the Morrison Brothers’ “The Wrong Idea” as Kenny Sears’ fiddle joins mid whirl. Al Perkins’ pedal steel has a seductive sway of a Mexicali ballad heating up as Shemekia sings, “Such A Pretty Flame.” Singing from her heart Shemekia covers her father’s “Promised Myself” led by Steve Cropper’s guitar. The plodding insistence of John Prine’s “Great Rain” features a duet with the man himself then things pick up force with “In The Blood Of The Blues” and “One I Love” by rocker Kevin Gorden as Wilkes’ harmonica brings it to a whirling conclusion. The Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” is just Copeland and Kimbrough’s slashing guitar before the rhythm section slips in midway. The gentle guitar intro by Kimbrough fades behind Copeland as she sings the traditional lullaby “Go To Sleepy Little Baby” a cappella. 

Shemekia sings of love and hope and acceptance because as brothers and sisters we are all “America’s Child”. 

By Roger & Margaret White. Read the full review in Big City Rhythm & Blues.