Shemekia on JPR Live Session

Shemekia Copeland and her guitarist Arthur Neilson join Jefferson Public Radio‘s Eric Teel on Open Air this Friday, January 22nd, at Noon PT. Shemekia will talk about and perform songs from her Grammy-nominated release, Outskirts Of Love.

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160122 Shemekia Copeland JPR Radio - Photo Soleil Rowan

Arthur Neilson and Shemekia Copeland on JPR Radio – Photo Soleil Rowan

The podcast has been added on the Jefferson Public Radio page.

In Preston Frazier’s
Best of 2015

Well into a fruitful career, Copeland has nothing to prove. Yet, with Outskirts of Love she delivers the blues with a passion and yearning of a new comer. Copeland’s compact but powerful band, produced by guitarist Oliver Wood, matches her passion and precision note for note. Additionally, casting guitarists Will Kimbrough, Robert Randolph and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons only compliments the authentic sound of the band. As a result, songs like the title track transport the listener to the dusty road were blues meets desperation. Tracks like “Devil’s Hand” will have you transfixed.

Preston Frazier picked Shemekia’s Outskirts of Love for his “Best of 2015”. Read the full reviews on Something Else.

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“Bringing the blues home”

At just 36, award-winning blues singer Shemekia Copeland has released seven albums and been performing for 28 years.

Unlike many wrinkle-fearing women, Copeland, a native of Harlem, NY, who’s called Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood home for the past decade, does not fear aging.

She welcomes it. And learns from it.

“Let me tell you something. I love my age! I love it!,” Copeland said by phone recently from Dallas, Texas, before restarting her tour after a holiday break. “I look at my friends in their late 40s and 50s and they are amazing and beautiful and wise. I’m not trying to rush my life, but I look forward to that time in my life.”

Vickie Jurkowski writes a lenghty feature entitled “Bringing the blues home” for Daily Southtown before Shemekia’s show at Freedom Hall’s Nathan Manilow Theatre in Park Forest, Illinois, on Friday, January 22nd.

Read the full article in the Chicago Tribune, which also runs the article.

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“Shemekia spins clear-voiced tales of the down and out”

160109 Shemekia Seattle Times

Today, Copeland — who plays four nights next week at Jazz Alley — sounds like she wants to tell you a story. […]

Throughout this year’s Grammy-nominated “Outskirts of Love,” Copeland spins clear-voiced tales of the down and out. […]

Although Copeland is not a songwriter, she has veto power over everything Hahn and Wood present to her. She has known Hahn for almost 30 years, when he was managing her father, the late Texas blues singer Johnny “Clyde” Copeland.

“He just knows me really well — a father to me in so many ways,” she says of Hahn. “He’s very picky about (songs) he gives me. I’m very picky about what I want performed. So if I can’t jump inside of it and really become it and present it, I wouldn’t do it.”

By Steve Knopper, in “Shemekia Copeland wants to tell you a story at Jazz Alley,” published by The Seattle Times, before her performances at Jazz Alley, in Seattle, between January 14th and 17th.

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“So singularly talented”

The princess of blues singers is back on the acclaimed Alligator blues label, after a brief time away, experimenting with jazzier and poppier sounds. It’s not that Copeland didn’t kill it with those styles too, just that she’s so singularly talented in interpreting blues and soul. Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers is the producer and guitarist here, with guests including Billy Gibbons, Robert Randolph, and Alvin Youngblood Hart. The title cut is a memorable tune about resilience, and “Crossbone Beach” is so potent it takes your breath away. Copeland’s usual cover of one of her dad’s songs finds her bringing new life to Johnny Copeland’s “Devil’s Hand,” and a “Drivin’ Out Of Nashville” is a smart ballad about life in the music business.

By Jay Miller, who put Outskirts of Love in his “Favorites of 2015” —”the albums that kept returning to our playlist, sticking to our turntable, blasting through our earbuds”—, published by The Enterprise.

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“Shemekia makes it the blues”

Copeland learned all about quality control at the feet of her father, a soul-drenched guitarist and singer who born in Louisiana and came of age on the Houston scene inspired by T-Bone Walker. […]

“What’s being instilled as a child definitely effects you later on,” she says. “Music was always very important to my father, and I watch him write down something, go back and change it, work on it and work on it. I watched that process all my life.”

Copeland’s formidable band features guitarist Willie Scandlyn, bassist Kevin Jenkins, drummer Robin Gould, and lead guitarist Arthur Neilson, who’s been with her since 1998. While she’s self-deprecating about her role as a bandleader (“This is pretty much Arthur’s band and I’m the chick singer,” she says), Copeland is a savvy artist who like her father hasn’t been bounded by stylistic conventions. […]

Whatever she sings, Copeland makes it the blues, and she doesn’t have much time for people who police the music’s borders.

By Andrew Gilbert, in “Shemekia Copeland brings the blues to Berkeley” published on Berkeleyside, before Shemekia’s show this Saturday, January 9th, show at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California.

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“Shemekia proves that all genres are rooted in the blues”

02 Shemekia Copeland © Photo Joseph A. Rosen - small

Shemekia Copeland © Photo Joseph A. Rosen

Copeland’s latest album Outskirts Of Love — a 2016 Grammy nominee — is a fitting example of her storytelling prowess and the narrative heritage of the blues. She covers “subjects that are not comfortable,” she says, including social injustice, date rape, and homelessness, packaging them into ballads that are catchy and soulful despite the dire themes. “Life is messy for everyone,” she says, “and on this record, everybody’s on the outskirts of something.”

Genre-wise, the record is also on the outskirts. Though it falls under the category of contemporary blues, the album ranges across country, jazz, Afrobeat, and rock’n’roll. “Everything comes from blues,” says Copeland. “So if I want to use a little country, a little gospel, a little soul, a little rock’n’roll, I should be able to do that because blues is the root of it all.” She even makes a lyrical reference to this in “Drivin’ Out of Nashville” when she coos, “Country music ain’t nothin’ but the blues with a twang.”

By Jessie Schiewe, in “Shemekia Copeland proves that all genres are rooted in the blues”, published by San Francisco Weekly, before Shemekia’s performance this Saturday, January 9th, at 8 PM at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, California.

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Several top tens
in Blues Music Magazine

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Six Blues Music Magazine contributing editors shared their top 10 blues CDs from 2015. Shemekia’s Outskirts of Love made it in four of the lists: Art Tipaldi, Don Wilcock, Hal Horowitz, Thomas Cullen III.

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In “5 things we loved in 2015”

Music reporter Tad Dickens picked Shemekia’s album in his “Things things we loved in 2015” for The Roanoke Times.  Here is what he wrote:

Shemekia Copeland’s new album, “Outskirts of Love,” which organically combined old ways with new directions. The disc got a Grammy nomination. Now let’s hope someone brings back Copeland, last seen here opening for Taj Mahal at Jefferson Center nearly two years ago.

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In best blues and
roots-rock albums of 2015

Shemekia Copeland, “Outskirts of Love” (Alligator Records) — The Teaneck-raised daughter of the late Johnny “Clyde” Copeland returns to Alligator Records and cuts one of her finest albums in years, with socially conscious songs about homelessness, “Cardboard Box,” and funny songs about the state of today’s country music, “Drivin’ Out of Nashville.” Guests include Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top and New Jersey’s own Robert Randolph.

By Richard Skelly, in “The best blues and roots-rock albums of 2015” published by Richard Skelly hosts the eclectic “Low-Budget Blues Program” from 8 to 10 p.m. every Thursday on 88.7, WRSU-FM, New Brunswick.

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