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Back at the Edmonton Blues Festival 20 years later

When singer Shemekia Copeland first played the Edmonton Blues Festival in 2000 she was only 22 and still something of a diamond in the rough. Despite her stage debut at age eight on the stage of Harlem’s Cotton Club and opening for her father — the late Texas blues great Johnny Copeland — from age 15, she had yet to take voice lessons or work on much original material.

Now, with eight albums, a shelf full of awards and more than 20 years of touring behind her, the New York-born powerhouse is the leading lady of contemporary blues, known for simmering soul ballads, touches of Americana, and rocking out. In 2016 she was named Female Blues Artist of the Year by the Blues Music Awards and in both the critics and readers polls of Living Blues magazine.

In “Seasoned Shemekia Copeland returns to Edmonton Blues Festival,” published by the Edmonton Journal, Roger Levesque presents Shemekia’s upcoming show, this Friday, August 19, at the Edmonton Blues Festival in Edmonton, Canada. The journalist interviewed Shemekia, asking her questions about “how making music changed in the 20 years” since Shemekia started performing regularly, about “different regional styles of blues or other musical genres,” about humor and darker songs.

Read the full interview in the Edmonton JournalLOGO edmonton journal

“She absolutely killed it”

Shemekia Copeland and her band absolutely killed it today at the New Bedford Whaling Blues Festival at Fort Taber!

The New Bedforg Guide live-streamed part of Shemekia’s performance at the New Bedford Whaling Festival in New Bedford, Massachussetts on Saturday, August 13.

The two videos add up more than 9,000 views in less than 48 hours!

 

“Do yourself a favor”

Do yourself a favor and YouTube Shemekia Copeland’s cover of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.”

It’s a cover I discovered a few years ago, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to it since. It’s a stripped down, bare-boned, almost lullaby of a cover.

Copeland has range, voice and taste. She moves gracefully from a sultry croon, to a blistering soul-shout. She’s a legit blues maven: Think Etta James, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown, Mavis Staples.

“Growing up, I loved women who had strong voices. I always said when I was growing up, ‘I want to sing like a man,’” she told me. “I was [drawn] to women who had strong voices — Big Mama Thornton, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown. They had so much attitude.”

All three women are clear influences in Copeland’s power-belt and bluesy growl.

Lauren Daley interviewed Shemekia Copeland before her performance at the New Bedford Whaling Blues Festival, at Fort Tabor Park, in New Bedford, Massachussets this Saturday, August 13, for South Coast Today. In this piece called “Three-time Grammy nominee to rock Whaling Blues Festival,” Lauren Daley talks about Shemekia’s history, her influences and more.
LOGO south coast today

Here is the video mentioned by Lauden Daley…

 

More photos from
Hondarribia Blues Festival

Spanish photographer Alex Rodriguez Cruz, who specializes in blues photography, shared on Facebook a portfolio of images he took of Shemekia’s performance at the Hondarribia Blues Festival, Spain, on July 15, 2016.

Here are some of his pictures.

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See the full gallery on Alex Rodriguez Cruz‘s Facebook.

Videos from
Cazorla Blues Festival

Spanish blogger Ray Morales posted photos and videos of Shemekia’s performance at the Cazorla Blues Festival, Spain, on Saturday, July 9, 2016, on Espacio de lo Possible.

Including this video of The Battle is Over, from Shemekia’s latest album, Outskirts of Love. Muchas gracias!

Three Living Blues Awards!

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Shemekia Copeland – Photo Ken Scandlyn

Shemekia Copeland won three 2016 Living Blues Awards. She was named Blues Artist Of The Year (Female) in both the Readers’ and Critics’ Polls. Her 2015 CD, Outskirts Of Love, won the Critics’ Poll for Album Of The Year. Copeland has received seven previous Living Blues Awards.

Outskirts Of Love received a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Blues Album category. She also won the 2016 Contemporary Blues Female Artist Award at the Blues Music Awards.

Check out all of Shemekia’s awards.

The prestigious United Kingdom publication, The Blues Magazine, named the CD the 2015 Album Of The Year. In the magazine’s review of the record, writer Rev. Keith Gordon says, “Shemekia Copeland is one of the best singers performing today. A rich blend of blues, soul and roots-rock that will astound the casual listener while rewarding Copeland’s longtime fans. Pure joy.” Editor Ed Mitchell calls it “a mature masterpiece of modern blues.”

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Read the full list of awards in Living Blues.

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Photos from
Hondarriba Blues Festival

Spanish photographer Alvaro Del Val Tobalina shared on Facebook a portfolio of images he took of Shemekia’s performance at the Hondarribia Blues Festival, Spain, on July 15, 2016.

Here are some of his pictures.

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See the whole Shemekia Copeland album on Alvaro Del Val Tobalina‘s Facebook.

“Focus on tough issues”

What would she rather focus on? “Domestic violence, date rape, religious hypocrites, crooked politicians, the list goes on and on.” Her longtime manager and main songwriter, John Hahn, crafts songs that allow her passionate opinions to shine. His lyrics coupled with her dynamic voice have filled eight albums and earned critical acclaim along the way.

By Jennifer Mulson, in “Shemekia Copeland’s songs focus on tough issues, not broken hearts” in The Gazette before Shemekia’s performance at the Blues Under the Bridge festival, this Saturday, July 30, in Colorado Springs.

Read the full article in The GazetteLOGO colorado springs gazette

 

“In the family tradition”

Some people stumble across the blues; others inherit them. Shemekia Copeland falls into the latter camp. […] “I was very proud of where I grew up, but I was fully aware that we were living in the ghetto,” says the singer, whose soulful cover of her father’s song “Ghetto Child” — about growing up dirt poor in “this so-called free land” — rings no less true today. “My father wrote the song about Third Ward Texas over 50 years ago,” says the Grammy-nominated electric blues singer. “And when I was growing up in Harlem, the song was still relevant, and it continues to be. I’d like to be like people who look at the world through rose-colored glasses. But I’ve been on this earth for 37 years, and so far I’ve been watching it get worse. I wish that wasn’t true, but unfortunately it is.”

Bill Forman wrote “Shemekia Copeland carries on in the family tradition” for the Colorado Springs Independent before Shemekia’s performance at the Blues Under the Bridge festival this Saturday, July 30, in Colorado Springs.

Read the full article in the Colorado Springs IndependentLOGO colorado springs independent

 

“A passionate artist”

Her wide-open vision of contemporary blues, roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with a modern musical and lyrical approach.

By the New Bedford Guide, before Shemekia Copeland’s performance at the New Bedford Whaling Blues Festival, in Massachussetts, on Saturday, August 13.

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Tickets available at the New Bedford Whaling Blues Festival.