On Americana Music Show

Calvin Powers interviewed Shemekia for his two-hour long Americana Music Show. #266 is about Shemekia and Outskirts Of Love. “Shemekia plays tracks from Outskirts Of Love and talks about learning the business from her father and listening to country music in Harlem,” he says.


Shemekia Copeland talks about her father Johnny Copeland. She says he was a Texan and a proud Texan, but he left Houston in the 70s because she says there was nothing happening for live music. She says, “Disco came into play and live music wasn’t happening.” So he decided to come up to Harlem. He played local clubs around there. She says Johnny Copeland met her mom at the Top Club. He made records in New York in the 80’s. Shemekia was born in ‘79. She started singing when she was very little. She says the first time her father brought her out on stage, she was 9 or 10 years old at the Cotton Club. Shew was very nervous and didn’t want to do it.

Shemekia Copeland talks about how she met John Hahn because he worked with her father, Johnny Copeland, before he died and since then they’ve been working together since she was very young. She says they talk almost every day and he gets her so well that the songs they write together are tailor-made for her.

Shemekia Copeland sets up “Driving Out Of Nashville.” She says Nashville is for musicians like Los Angeles is for actors. Everybody thinks you show up there and become a star. And that’s not how it happens. This is a story about a girl who “went through some things” in Nashville.

You want to know more about the record, about Shemekia, where it all comes from? Here is the podcast. Enjoy…

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“There is serious gold in them”

It’s a good thing two-time Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland is such a captivating powerhouse singer. Otherwise, you might need a shower to rinse off the grit contained in her brand new album, “Outskirts of Love.”

The cover image of a motel (with the sign’s neon “O” burned out, of course) and a sign advertising “Adults only; hourly rates,” already warns you that you are not heading to the safe, comfortable  part of town. […]

But there’s serious gold in them there blues. Check her extra-soulful interpretations of ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” (with Top’s Billy Gibbons on guitar, yet), Creedence Clearwater Revivial’s “Long As I Can See the Light” and Albert King’s “Wrapped up in Love Again.” That last part of the album suggests there’s hope for the seemingly unredeemable. […]

If you haven’t caught Copeland at a past Philadelphia Folk Festival, or this year’s Blast Furnace Blues Festival in Bethlehem, she’ll be in town this week, no doubt itching to share this new batch of songs.

By Brian Bingaman in “Shemekia Copeland explores the blues’ seedier side with Outskirts of Love” on Ticket, before her performance at the Sellersville Theater on Thursday, October 1st.

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The February cruise almost sold out

150603 Keeping the blues alive cruise

The Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea cruise is almost sold out! Wanna come blues cruisin’ with Shemekia in February under the sun of Florida and Mexico? This might be your last chance… 

The Norwegian Pearl will be traveling from Miami, FL, to Cozumel, Mexico, between February 15th and 19th. Shemekia will be performing along with Joe Bonnamassa, Robert Randolph, and fellow Alligator recording artists Jarekus Singleton, Selwyn Birchwood, among others.

Norwegian Pearl

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“With equal power and finesse”

Shemekia Copeland came to bat swinging for her performance on Sept. 26 in her adopted hometown of Chicago. If the anointed Queen of the Blues had been performing at nearby Wrigley Field instead of the Old Town School of Folk Music, she would have hit a grand slam. […] She has the vocal range to deliver blistering rockers, slow blues numbers and gospel-tinged soul with equal power and finesse.

Copeland began the concert with the title track to Outskirts Of Love, and she concluded it with an encore, “It’s 2 A.M.” (from her 2000 album, Wicked). In between, Copeland dug infinitely deeper with a pair of songs from her 1998 debut album, Turn The Heat Up: “Married To The Blues,” a ballad, was heartrending and powerful, while “Ghetto Child” was spine-tingling and emotionally charged. […]

As a mature performer, Copeland has learned to skillfully segue through musical styles and subject matter. She shifted seamlessly from the r&b number “I Feel A Sin Coming On,” in which she plays the unrepentant temptress, to 2009’s spiritual rouser “Big Brand New Religion,” with the introduction, “I want to take y’all to my Grandma Jessie’s North Carolina church.” The audience was ready to testify, standing as one and clapping as if they were in the front pews.

The singer may have familial roots in the Deep South, but she was actually born and bred in New York City, and her introduction to show business came in the clubs of Harlem. Her vocal inflection is more urbane than most blues singers, giving her a style that appeals to a broad audience —but with no danger of sounding like an interloper.

By Jeff Johnson in DownBeat Magazine.

Read the full review of Shemekia’s show at the Old Town School of Folk Music  in Chicago on DownBeat MagazineLOGO downbeat

Album at #2, 5 songs in Top 50!

2015 Shemekia Copeland - Outskirts Of Love 300x300

Outskirts of Love, Shemekia’s new album, is second on the Roots Music Report‘s Top 50 Blues Album Chart for the week of September 21, right after Buddy Guy’s Born To Play Guitar.

This same week, five of Shemekia’s songs make it to the Top 50 Blues Song Chart!

Outskirts of Love is #4 (up from #19), Wrapped Up in Love Again #19 (up from #20), Devil’s Hand #27 (up from #51), Drivin’ out of Nashville #32 (up from #41), and The Battle is Over (But the War Goes On) remains steady at #49.

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Listen to all the songs.

And to celebrate, here is a video posted by MrKtnature on YouTube of Shemekia and her band performing the title song at the Narrows Festival of the Arts in Fall River, Massachussetts, at the beginning of the Outskirts Of Love Fall Tour.

Free at Free At Noon

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Shemekia will perform at the Sellersville Theater in Sellersville, PA, this coming Thursday, October 1st. As a very special treat, Shemekia will also perform live in Philadelphia, PA, at World Cafe Live the following day, on Friday October 2nd at 12 PM ET for WXPN’s series Free At Noon. If you live in the area, you can RSVP for this free show here. But act fast, tickets for this intimate performance are limited and will go quickly.

If you don’t live in the Philly area or can’t make either show, this performance will stream live.

“She makes each song
her own personal tale”

Bequeathed with a dynamic and assertive voice, Outskirts Of Love is an affirmation that (Shemekia) has taken the blues into contemporary territory, while maintaining the raw emotion that is demanded of those that dare venture into this expressive and exclusive vocation.

As times have changed, so has the blues. From the title track, with its hard edged guitars, this record finds Copeland accompanied by an innovative group of musicians who take the songs into rock, soul, Americana, and even country, as witnessed by “Drivin’ Out Of Nashville,” which she defines as “blues with a twang.” […]

That she covers such a wide scope of genres on Outskirts Of Love might be cause for alarm in hardcore blues purists, but she has earned the right to sing the blues in any form she likes, as she makes each song her own personal tale. Her stage presence is as inspiring as her recordings, attesting that she can convey the message with a genuine expertise that only someone born into the blues can.

By James Nadal, who gives the album 4 stars on All About Jazz.

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“A sound force that rises up from deep inside”

Shemekia Copeland has a knack for using the stage as a pulpit as she demands attention like a preacher standing in front of those already converted. Her methods shake foundations and rattle the righteous into action. Outskirts of Love, her most recent release, testifies to the ability of Shemekia Copeland to reach right down inside to touch spirits needing a little more saving than platitudes and promises can offer. […]

Outskirts of Love presents Shemekia Copeland wearing audio coats of many colors, guiding each tune with a sound force that rises up from deep inside, pushing limits and coloring outside of the lines as she buries the needle in the red zone.

By Danny, in What’s Trending on The Alternate Root.

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An interview on WUMB

Shemekia Copeland - WUMB

Shemekia Copeland – WUMB

Holly Harris, host of Spinnin’ The Blues on Boston’s WUMB-FM, chats with Shemekia about her new release, Outskirts Of Love.

“What’s different is I think it’s my most complete album from a conceptional point of view. Everything just seems to fit in together theme-wise from one song to the next. It just flows. I’m back working with Oliver Wood who just seems to know how to get the most out of me. And he and John Hahn have written some of my best songs yet,” she tells Holly Harris.

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“A gritty, frequently dark offering”

Shemekia Copeland at 2015 Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival - Photo BluesPowR Blog

Shemekia Copeland at 2015 Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival – Photo BluesPowR Blog

Having inherited the title following the death of the great Koko Taylor, the reigning “Queen of the Blues” returns to the same label on which her first four albums were released with her latest CD Outskirts of Love, a gritty, frequently dark offering that ranks among the very best we’ve heard from her […]

With its tales of runaway brides, murder, the dangers of the music industry, sin and temptation, and dealing with the devil, there’s of course lots to like on Outskirts of Love. But our favorite songs of the bunch have to be the husky, soulful “I Feel a Sin Coming On” (Solomon Burke), again accented by horns, and aforementioned “Cardboard Box”, a duet with singer and guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart co-penned by UK bluesman Ian Siegal and that offers such terrific lyrics as “don’t need a door, I don’t need locks, livin’ my life in a cardboard box” and “Now it don’t matter what you own, a little shack or a mansion of stone/ life is rough, it only gets worse/ we all end up in a box, I just got mine first”. […]

If the world wasn’t already calling her the “Queen of the Blues”, it sure would be after hearing this album.

By Mike, on The BluesPowr Blog.

Read the full review on The BluesPowr Blog.

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