Shemekia is the daughter of Texas blues legend Johnny Copeland, and she launched her career by crafting a northern-soul version of her daddy’s music. On her last two albums, however, she has applied that big-lunged, big-funk blues sound to some of the best songwriters in Nashville. On this album, she fleshes out the possibilities of songs by Mary Gauthier, John Prine, Oliver Wood and Kevin Gordon. This is the best of both worlds: terrific literary songwriting coupled with a tradition older than any college curriculum.
“Starting tomorrow, Monday, December 9, our Feature Show, which runs 3 times a day, most days of the week, will be spinning tracks from our picks for the best new roots music releases of 2018,” writes Folk n Roots Radio, who put Shemekia Copeland’s America’s Child in the list, as well as John Prine’s Summer’s End. The radio station also adds: “Tune in and remember, if you like the tunes, buy the records.”
Get the full Best of 2018 list on Folk n Roots Radio.
Yes, she is a blues singer. A phenomenal one. Copeland’s powerful voice, whether gliding or blasting off, was in tuneful and soulful control during a 95-minute set. … Behind her, a four-piece band provided seamless grooves and twin-guitar firepower. …
Copeland had legitimate material, too — including songs from her latest album, the Americana-influenced “America’s Child.” She showed how to rock the blues with a mixture of showmanship and sass, even a bit of diplomacy.
By Tad Dickens, in a story titled “Singer Shemekia Copeland carries a blues legacy with class and some sass”. Read the full review of Shemekia’s performance at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, Virginia, in The Roanoke Times.
This recording is chock full of memorial tunes brought to life through Copeland’s unique, powerfully convicting voice. The album radiates sincerity, whether Copeland’s giving into the possibility of a dalliance despite knowing of the hazards of heartache in “Promised Myself” or holding up a mirror to our nation’s diversity in “Americans” — a sneaky and tricky rhythm monster of a song. I have little patience for insincerity in music, doubly so when the musician wades into political issues, but Copeland’s integrity, both within the music and the power of her convictions, is refreshing and penetratingly honest.
Copeland reaches her zenith on “In the Blood of the Blues,” a compelling appreciation of the power of the blues to salve the suffering of slaves and console the victims of Jim Crow. It’s potent, heady stuff enlivened by Will Kimbrough’s searing guitar and Copeland’s incendiary vocals — they’re the perfect instruments to evoke the song’s passionate sentiments. This song is so well conceived that it rivals Billie Holiday’s recording of “Strange Fruit” for sheer emotional intensity.
Get this album yesterday.
By Randy Murphy. Read the full review on the Cascade Blues Association website.
Tastemaker UK magazine MOJO publishes its influential list of Top Ten Blues Albums of 2018 in the January 2019 issue.
Sitting at the #1 spot is Shemekia Copeland’s groundbreaking America’s Child. According to MOJO, “Shemekia Copeland’s voice is rich, soulful and totally commanding. Authoritative, passionate Stax-styled stirrers, raw Chicago blues and countryish folk rockers.”
Shemekia Copeland is an award-winning R&B/Americana singer considered one of the great blues voices of our time. Born in Harlem, New York City and daughter of Texas blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland, young Shemekia first performed at the Cotton Club when she was 9. At 16, her father took her on tour as his opening act, establishing her name on the blues circuit.
In 1998, she landed a recording contract with Alligator Records, and released her first album, Turn the Heat Up! Other albums followed: Wicked, Talking to Strangers, and The Soul Truth. At the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival, she was presented with Koko Taylor’s crown and officially honored as the new ‘Queen of the Blues.’ Her album, Outskirts of Love peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums, and her latest eighth album, America’s Child on Alligator Records has just been released. She has earned multiple Blues Music and Living Blues Awards, Best Blues Artist Of The Year and a Grammy nomination.
Margie Goldsmith “caught up with the busy performer in Buffalo where she was on tour.” She asked Shemekia about her childhood and her teenage years, her albums, her performance at the White House, her collaborations with Dr. John, John Prine, and Steve Cropper, about her band, her son, and her new album, America’s Child, in which she sings “about chaos and uncertainty.” “And yet, you still find joy all around you,” adds Margie Goldsmith, before asking: “So are you optimistic about America?” Read the full interview in Forbes.
Shemekia Copeland’s America’s Child makes it to the top of the Blues Albums of 2018 list in Mojo Magazine. The list compiled by Tony Russell places the album, released this past August by Alligator Records, at #1.
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.
Ontario, Canada-based CKCU opened its November, 11, Black and Blues show with a Shemekia Copeland special, presenting “blues and soulful tunes over the years on Alligator Records.”
The show featured songs from six of her eight albums: Smoked Ham And Peaches, In The Blood Of The Blues, Great Rain, Would You Take My Blood?, Ain’t Got Time For Hate from America’s Child, Devil’s Hand, Wrapped Up In Love Again from Outskirts Of Love, Ghetto Child, I Always Get My Man from Turn The Heat Up, It’s 2 a.m. from Wicked, Livin’ On Love from Talking To Strangers, and Breakin’ Out from The Soul Truth.
The Black and Blues show, hosted by John Tackaberry and airing every Sunday from 9 pm to 11 pm, presents, “blues, rhythm and blues with some sixties soul.” Listen to the show on CKCU.