Shemekia - The Band

Kevin Jenkins (bass), Arthur Neilson (guitar), Shemekia Copeland (vocals), Willie Scandlyn (rhythm guitar), Robin Gould (drums)

Arthur Neilson


Born and raised in New York City, Arthur Neilson taught himself to play guitar on an electric Teisco Del Rey at age 15. After purchasing a Harmony acoustic, he honed his folk repertoire and finger picking skills. One night, he heard Albert King. Arthur got goose bumps from head to toes, and has been hooked on the blues ever since.

Arthur developed his dynamic guitar style by playing along with every blues record that he could find. With a longing to play the blues, but unable to find the right situation, Arthur worked in rock ‘n roll bands —he also loves Chuck Berry. Then, in the early seventies, he responded to an ad in the Village Voice, seeking a blues guitarist. He formed the A Train Blues Band with Felix Cabrera. This propelled him into the burgeoning New York blues scene, which gave Arthur the opportunity to back up the late Victoria Spivey and jam with James Cotton and Hubert Sumlin.

In 1979, Arthur caught the attention of Blue Angel with his rootsy, aggressive guitar playing. After joining the band, whose lead singer was Cyndi Lauper, they recorded an album for Polydor, which garnered much critical acclaim. In the eighties and through the nineties, Arthur’s phone was always ringing, as his guitar work was in much demand. Not only was he playing the blues, but rock ‘n roll, rockabilly, and country too. In fact, at one point, he was gigging in seven bands, including Oxford Blues, Kid Java, Felix & The Havanas and The Guitar Guys From Hell. Some memorable moments were working with guitar great Otis Rush, as well as Ronnie Spector, Benny Mardones & The Commitments.

Arthur was schooled in New York City bars and clubs, such as Dan Lynch Blues Bar, Lone Star Cafe, Manny’s Car Wash and Tramps. This has led to sharing the stage with many of his influences, most notably B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Roy Buchanan, Danny Gatton, and Albert King, who upon hearing Arthur said, “That boy sure can play!”

In 1998, Shemekia Copeland found Arthur to be the guitar player that she was looking for to complete her touring band. Arthur has been performing with her across the globe and can be heard on several of Shemekia’s records, Wicked, 33 1/3, and the latest Outskirts of Love, as well as numerous other recordings (Popa Chubby Presents New York City Blues, Popa Chubby’s Black Coffee, Doña Oxford’s Raw and Rowena Said, and his own Moan and Cry, and A Piece Of Wood, Some Strings & A Pick).


Ken ‘Willie’ Scandlyn


Originally from San Diego, California, Willie Scandlyn now resides in Portland, Oregon. He started the guitar at age 14, and began playing in working bands at age 15. “My love of music came from my grandfather, who would take me to Southern Baptist churches during my summer visits, experiencing black gospel music. I then heard Mississippi John Hurt on a local L.A. folk FM station, and was hooked on the blues!” recalls Willie.

In the early 80’s, Willie began working with one of the Coaster’s groups on the West Coast, where he met Terry Evans. He has now been working and recording with Terry for over 20 years. This association afforded Willie the opportunity to record with Ry Cooder on Puttin’ It Down, one of Terry’s releases.

Willie’s main guitar influences are Albert Collins, Albert King, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, and Mike Bloomfield, to name a few. “One of my new favorite guitarists is Arthur Neilson!” he adds.


Kevin Jenkins

Bass Guitar

Originally from Boston, Massachussetts, Kevin moved to New York City while still a teenager to pursue his dream of being a professional musician.

Kevin has worked with Cyndi Lauper, Taylor Dayne, Roberta Flack, Maxwell, Enrique Iglesias, Alana Davis and numerous other New York City singers and songwriters. He toured extensively with all the above and recorded with Cyndi, Taylor, Maxwell, Black 47, and Holly Palmer. Kevin has appeared with some of the artists noted above on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Johnny Carson, The American Music Awards, The Late Show with David Letterman, Soul Train, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and numerous other specials and awards shows. He has opened for Michael Jackson, The Police, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, B.B. King, and Joe Cocker.

Kevin is also an outstanding songwriter who was born with another amazing instrument: his horn-like voice, full of emotion, full of power.


Robin Gould


New York City based Robin Gould has plied his trade for nearly forty years in the Big Apple, playing, recording and or touring with Michael Franks, Carly Simon, Dan Zanes, G.E. Smith, Jon Herrington, Loudon Wainright, the late songwriter Rob Morseberger, among countless others.

Always a lover of blues, gospel and roots music in general, he has had the good fortune of making music with New York blues legend and mentor at large Bill Sims Jr. as well as piano masters Johnny Johnson and Pinetop Perkins, guitarist Hubert Sumlin and the incredible gospel singer Bebe Winans.

It is now Robin’s great pleasure to be with “the amazing Shemekia Copeland”.