Best album in Hungary

Blues Van, in Hungary, picked Shemekia’s Outskirts of Love as best album for 2015, followed by Buddy Guy’s Born To Play Guitar and Doug MacLeod’s Exactly Like This.

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“A fine album
with no weak cuts”

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Everybody knows Shemekia, daughter of Johnny Copeland and now firmly established as one of the top singers in contemporary blues. Still only in her thirties, this is her seventh album, again with Oliver Wood (with whom she made the Grammy-nominated 33 1/3) as producer and guitarist. Executive producer John Hahn again contributes material, having a hand in four of the songs here, three with Oliver […]

The CD opens with the title track, a song typical of Shemekia – a powerful rocker with a social conscience – as she tells of the difficult lives that people in poor areas have to survive. A second Hahn/Wood tune explores more difficult lyrical territory as Shemekia takes us to “Crossbone Beach” where she appears to have been passed a drugged drink – “my soul washed up on Crossbone Beach, close to hell as you can reach”; however, she gets her revenge later in the song! […]

This is a fine album with no weak cuts, probably even stronger than 33 1/3 which was nominated for a Grammy. Recommended and likely to be on many ‘best of’ lists at the end of the year.

By John Mitchell, in Blues Blast Magazine.

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In John Kessler’s top ten albums of 2015

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Shemekia Copeland has made quite a musical journey for a young artist. Her earlier albums shifted gradually from traditional blues, towards R & B and funk. Now, on her seventh release and third with Producer Oliver Wood, she has solidified her own niche as a tough-but-sensitive singer, able to bring a strong bluesy vibe to a sound that includes roots, folk and soul. Not restricting herself to traditional material has allowed her to wander all over the musical map, from ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” to Jesse Winchester’s “Isn’t That So”.

In “John Kessler’s top ten blues albums of 2015”, published by KPLU 88.5.

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In Nick Cristiano’s top
country/roots albums of 2015

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Shemekia Copeland – Photo Kris Connor / Getty Images

Shemekia Copeland’s known as a blues singer, but this powerhouse vocalist again refuses to be boxed in by that label on another commanding set that features not only blues but also gospel, country, and soul.

In “Nick Cristiano’s top country/roots albums of 2015” published on

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“Shemekia Copeland
wants to tell you a story”

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Shemekia Copeland – Photo Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune

Over seven albums in 17 years, mostly on Chicago’s Alligator Records, Copeland took vocal lessons and worked on nuances with producer and songwriter Oliver Wood. Throughout this year’s Grammy-nominated “Outskirts of Love,” Copeland makes like her touring partner, bluesman Robert Cray, and spins clear-voiced tales of the down and out. In the title track, co-written by Wood and manager John Hahn, she sings: “Carrying a suitcase / all bound up with string / it was all that she had left since she pawned her wedding ring.” […]

Copeland’s latest album, this year’s “Outskirts of Love,” is her first cycle of songs dealing exclusively with the downtrodden — homeless people in “Cardboard Box” a date-rape victim in “Crossbone Beach,” a brush with sexual harassment in “Drivin’ Out of Nashville” and, more in line with blues conventions, the cheater in “I Feel a Sin Coming On” and the sad souls in Jessie Mae Hemphill’s “Lord, Help the Poor and Needy.”

“Today, Copeland sounds like she wants to tell you a story,” writes Steve Knopper who interviewed Shemekia for the Chicago Tribune before her sold-out show at the Chicago City Winery this weekend. The journalist talks about the lyrics and the stories of Shemekia’s Grammy-nominated album Outskirts of Love, and her voice. 

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“A stylist
of subtlety and nuance”

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Shemekia Copeland has developed from a blues shouter teeming with raw power into a stylist of subtlety and nuance. And she’s done it without sacrificing any of her intensity. […]

She negotiates a complex melodic and emotional terrain: her unfettered roar remains among the most thrilling in contemporary blues, and her ability to fuse vulnerability with toughness and grit […] is both riveting and inspiring.

By David Whiteis. The Chicago Reader previews Shemekia’s upcoming holiday show on December 20 at City Winery Chicago where she will perform songs from her Grammy-nominated release, Outskirts Of Love, and more. Only a few tickets remain before this show is completely sold-out.

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Get your ticket.

Interviewed on Blues America

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Shemekia Copeland is the featured artist on this week’s edition of Blues America. Tune in to hear Drew Verbis’ interview with Shemekia as they discuss her Grammy-nominated release, Outskirts Of Love, as well as feature some of the songs. 

Blues America is broadcast weekly from Phoenix, Arizona, on various stations nationwide, streamed from their websites or downloadable at iTunes.

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Album of the year in the UK!

“What an incredible year of the blues! […] It wouldn’t have been such a great year for blues without the 50 quality releases that we’ve selected as the best of 2015, which you’ll find on the following pages. Unlike previous years, this time we’ve numbered them in descending order and, for the first time, selected an album of the year,” writes The Blues Magazine‘s editor Ed Mitchell.

And for the British magazine, this album of the year is… Outskirts of Love! 

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Tackling subjects such as date rape and homelessness, yet with a deft touch and upbeat tone, Copeland’s eighth album is a mature masterpiece of modern blues.

Recorded in Nashville with her team of John Hahn and Oliver Wood, Shemekia Copeland’s Outskirts of Love is a sure sign of an evolving artist. Across the seven albums that preceded it, Copeland, daughter of Texas blues icon Johnny Copeland, has stepped in and out of almost every genre under the sun, weaving country, gospel and more into her bedrock of blues.

It’s a mix that has paid dividends, hence the record’s place at the top of our chart. Not only is it a musically mature album, it’s also one that pulls no punches. Lyrically it hits hard, especially when dealing with issues like date rape (on Crossbone Beach), but it still retains Copeland’s trademark uplifting sound and never fails to leave the listener with a smile on their face.

There are also brave choices in cover versions, most notably by taking on Devil’s Hand, one of her late father’s famed recordings. In fact, not only does she take the song on, but she makes it her own. Now that’s the sign of a true artist, and also a worthy Album Of The Year award winner.

By Rich Chamberlain, who follows up with an in-depth interview of Shemekia.

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In Chicago Mag’s
20 great winter events

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“Get into the Christmas spirit with the reigning queen of blues, though her most recent album, Outskirts of Love, veers country,” writes Matt Pollock in Chicago Mag to announce Shemekia’s Holiday Party at the City Winery, on December 20, in “20 Great cultural events to fill your winter weekends — Waste no weekend this winter” in Chicago Mag.

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“Shemekia’s best so far”

Shemekia Copeland’s reputation has grown fast after the release of her first album ‘Turn The Heat Up’ from 1998 when Shemekia was 18. She shared the stages with the biggest names in both the pop- and bluescircuit and this is her eighth album.

It opens with the rocking titletrack in which she gives her vocal cords a serious test. In ‘Drivin’ Out Of Nashville’, where this album was recorded, she winks to classic country with the beautiful sentence: ‘Country music’s nothing but blues with a twang’.  The accoustic blues ‘Cardboard Box’, with Alvin Youngblood Hart on guitar is a plea for the homeless.

She covers a song from the repertoir of her father Johnny Copeland and his time it’s ‘Devil’s Hand’, drenched in afrobeat. Beside this all there’s a very well balanced selection with covers coming from America’s music history of approximately fifty years.

This very varied and excellently produced album is Shemekia’s best so far.

Translated in English from the review written by Rien Wisse, in Jazzism (The Netherlands).

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