Press

In Folk n Root’s “Best of 2018”

“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

The Roanoke Times: “A blues legacy with class and some sass”

Photo by Natalee Waters / Special to The Roanoke Times

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

“Get this album yesterday”

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. 

A full interview in Forbes

Photo Mike White

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

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.

A Shemekia Copeland and Alligator Records special on CKCU (Canada)

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

Tampa Bay Creative Loafing: “Especially poignant”

Shemekia Copeland’s new album, America’s Child, features a lot of the no-holds-barred attitude that so much of the 39-year-old blues singer’s 30-year discography possesses, but something about the 12-track effort feels especially poignant.

Copeland told CL that she always wishes she could ask her father —the late, great Texas blues great Johnny Copeland, who died in his 50s— about things like the rapidly changing music industry and the state of the world, but she also said that much of her purpose in music is to complete a lot of Dad’s unfinished business. 

“I’ve never said that before, but I truly believe that his work wasn’t quite finished,” Copeland said before a quick run through Germany. “It was like he left me here to finish it.”

We spoke with her about the thought of performing for Trump, traveling and more. 

Ray Roa interview Shemekia Copeland before her performance on November 11 at The Attic at Rock Brothers Brewing in Tampa, Florida. An interview in which she talks about “finishing dad’s work, not performing for Trump and more.”

Read the full interview on Tampa Bay Creative Loafing