Press

“Solid, strong and inspirational”

“Shemekia at the age of 36 has a distinguished career behind her –blues awards galore– and ahead of her, if this set is any indication. Outskirts features material popularized by the likes of Solomon Burke, Albert King, Jesse Winchester and ZZ Top, and guest appearances by Billy Gibbons himself, Robert Randolph, Alvin Youngblood Hart and more… Copeland is a powerful vocalist, a colorful belter, and a consistently convincing interpreter of material… Solid, strong and inspirational, Copeland is systematically laying down a significant legacy, and this is only the latest.”

By Dave DiMartino, Yahoo Music.

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“She personifies
these characters”

“At 35, the most famous blues woman of her generation follows her track with the same confidence,” says Nicolas Teurnier who gives four stars to Outskirts of Love in French magazine Soul Bag. Shemekia sings about “wandering stories” and “disillusioned mornings”. Shemekia “personifies these characters and the listener visualizes the scenes distinctively.”

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“Always so much in tune”

“Shemekia returns to Alligator in Chicago with this very personal album”, writes Marcel Bénédit in French ABS Magazine, who points out Shemekia’s “powerful voice.”  “Twelve songs, all together are featured in this homogeneous album, in its sound and in its interpretation –always so much in tune– of this very talented singer.”

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“Sublimely expressive throughout”

“Outskirts of Love is (Shemekia’s) third outing with producer, guitarist and songwriter Oliver Wood. (…) Wood and Copeland work well together. Wood co-wrote three of the 12 songs on the album, and enlisted some mighty players to back her up (…)

Copeland’s powerful voice is in full gear and sublimely expressive throughout, and the diverse song selection gives her a wide range of material to display her talents. John Hahn, a remarkably talented instrumental guitarist, co-wrote four of the songs. (…)

Notable songs from the album include Copeland’s take on “Jesus Just Left Chicago” with guest Billy F. Gibbons, “The Battle is Over (But the War Goes On), “Crossbone Beach” with Robert Randolph, “Cardboard Box,” and the gut-wrenching set-ender “Lord, Help the Poor and Needy.” Listen to “Outskirts of Love” and you will agree Copeland deserves the honor of wearing the crown.

By Wildman Steve on The Corner News.

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“Thrilling to witness”

Shemekia Copeland returns to Alligator Records with an album that kicks some serious ass. Outskirts of Love is like going to church and a speakeasy at the same time.

My first encounter with Ms. Copeland was when I saw her open for Buddy Guy in Edmonton in early 2006, and I’ve been a fan ever since. As singers go she’s robust and soulful, getting her songs (and those of others) across like she believes every word she is singing […]

These songs and the way Shemekia interprets them have miles of depth, it’s almost as if she has no choice but to do this with her life- and that’s thrilling to witness. […]

If you want to hear true greatness, put on Outskirts Of Love right now and thank me later.

By John The Rock Doctor Kereiff, Gonzoonline (Canada).

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“Her performances
are breathtaking”

Influenced by the late Koko Taylor, the only other blues singer, at least for this writer, who could match Shemekia’s sheer intensity, the mantle has been passed. At the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois officially declared Copeland to be “The New Queen of the Blues.”

As you listen to her interpret Solomon Burke (“I Feel a Sin Coming”), John Fogerty (“Long As I Can See the Light”), Terry and McGhee (“The Battle Is Over”) and Albert King (“Wrapped Up in Love Again”), you just marvel at the bone chilling fervor and range of her vocals. She has already won eight Blues Awards and is still in her mid-thirties with a long career ahead of her. Shemekia tours frequently, and has a number of East Coast dates lined up including 10/1 at the Sellersville Theater, PA and 10/2 at City Winery, NYC.

Take my word for it. Her live performances are breathtaking.

Jim Hynes, in Elmore Magazine.

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“At the top of her game”

Outskirts of Love (which finds her returning to Alligator Records after a pair of albums for Telarc) shows once again (Shemekia Copeland)’s one of the strongest and most capable vocalists in the contemporary blues game. Copeland has a solid, expressive voice with plenty of power, she knows how to sell a song without an excess of melodrama, and with producer and songwriter Oliver Wood she’s found a creative partnership that serves both sides well. […]

Shemekia Copeland is one vocalist who can cut a straightforward blues set in the 21st Century and still make it sound fresh and exciting, and Outskirts of Love captures her at the top of game, young enough to still pack a wallop and experienced enough to know just what her music needs.

By Mark Deming, Allmusic.com.

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“That’s great news”

Shemekia Copeland returns to Alligator Records for Outskirts of Love (out September 11, 2015), but little else has changed for this bonafide blues belter. On both counts, that’s great news.

Copeland has done nothing less than bring the blues into the twenty-first century with its integrity intact during her first stint with the highly regarded roots label over four long players between 1998 and 2006. Since then, Copeland has honed her swaggering brand of rock-infused blues, finding the perfect collaborator in producer, songwriter and guitarist Oliver Wood, who has a knack for writing tunes that suit Copeland so well, you’re convinced she wrote them herself. […]

There’s no let up in Shemekia Copeland found on Outskirts of Love; her hold on the Queen of the Blues crown is as firm as ever.

S. Victor Aaron, for Something Else!

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“Nobody does it better”

2015 Shemekia Copeland - Outskirts Of Love 300x300

Nowadays, when Shemekia Copeland opens her mouth, everybody pays attention. Her blast furnace delivery and bombastic performances have made her a hard act to follow in any genre. Her latest, Outskirts of Love (Alligator Records), confirms her status as diva supreme in a variety of musical settings.

Blasting away on the title cut, backed by producer Oliver Wood’s fiery guitar licks, Copeland delivers scathing descriptions of love-ravaged victims. Poignant lyrics —by Wood and Copeland’s manager/executive producer John Hahn— portray a gritty slice of life: a woman in a wedding dress waiting at a bus stop, holding a suitcase tied with string, all she has left since she pawned her wedding ring, living on the Outskirts of Love. […]

This is the best effort of her career. Copeland tops herself on cut after cut. This is how you do it, and nobody does it better than Shemekia Copeland.

By Grant Britt, for No Depression.

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“Another unique
and classy project”

Along with expanding her musical approach, Copeland started grappling with socio-political issues, choosing material that made larger statements about the personal and economic world issues.  […]

It’s a smart move. Copeland’s voice and style remain instantly recognizable, and the music now allows her to use dynamics and subtleties to better express feelings that the lyrics describe.  This album’s intentions are implied in its title. Copeland sings about those on the outskirts of society, specifically the homeless (Cardboard Box, a wonderful duet with Alvin Youngblood Hart), date rape and domestic violence victims who murderously turn the tables on their situations (Crossbone Beach and Drivin’ Out of Nashville) and those who manage to find a light at the end of the tunnel (a killer cover of John Fogerty’s Long as I Can See the Light). As usual, she grabs one of her dad’s songs providing another winner in the driving Devil’s Hand, delivered with a backwoods Mississippi Delta edge. […]

The closing stripped down swamp gospel pushed by stand-up bass and forlorn harmonica of Jesse Mae Hemphill’s Lord, Help the Poor puts the wraps on another unique and classy project from Copeland, a singer whose stunning, powerful vocals perfectly mesh with provocative music aimed equally at the head, heart and ultimately the dancing feet.

The rewiew is by Hal Horowitz for American Songwriter magazine, who gives the album 4 stars.

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