“Rich blues heritage”

Shemekia Copeland - Photo Philippe Noisette

The Tribune used this photo by Philippe Noisette, taken at the Jazz Under the Apple Trees festival in Coutances, France, in 2003, to illustrate the article.

“Shemekia Copeland was homeschooled in music education — not only by her father, established blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, but also by her father’s peers, who included the late B.B. King. “One of the things I remember most about B.B. was how much he wanted to educate you about other people’s music,” said Shemekia Copeland, who performs at this year’s Avila Blues Blues Festival along withBonnie Raitt and JJ Grey and Mofro. “Every time I got on his bus, he’d have music set up, and he’d always play me songs (by) other people­… really obscure artists that nobody had ever heard of, only him.” King, who died last week at age 89, liked to share his insights about the blues, Copeland said.”

Patrick S. Pemberton features Shemekia in The Tribune in San Luis Obispo, California. A long article about her influences and her heritage before her performance at the Avila Beach Blues Festival this Memorial Day weekend.

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In Blues Blast Magazine

Shemekia Copeland - Blues Blast Magazine cover

Shemekia is featured on the cover of the January 29, 2015 Blues Blast Magazine, followed by a long interview by Tee Watts, music director at KPFZ 88.1 FM in Lakeport, CA, and road manager for Sugar Pie DeSanto. Photos are by Bob Kieser.

About one third of the way through our hour long conversation with Blues Queen Shemekia Copeland she suddenly, momentarily breaks it off, promising to call us right back on a different line.

“You know what Honey? I’m gonna call you right back on my house phone right now okay?”

Seconds later we reconnect and she explains the situation.

“I’m sorry. My cell phone only works when I sit in a certain spot and I’m making my husband breakfast.” We offer apologies for intruding on Mr. Orlando Wright’s breakfast and continue where we left off which was talking about Shemekia’s working with Dr. John on her 2002 album, Talking To Strangers. When asked whose decision it was to use Dr. John as the producer she unabashedly states the decision was hers.

“It was my decision. I’ve had a relationship with him since I was a kid. He was a great friend of my father’s and was a big supporter of me from the very beginning of my career. So it was a natural thing to do, for me to want to be with him.”

We wrote some songs together. We had a ball. We had so many people, so many great musicians. Herman Ernest, who played drums with him for many years and is now passed away was on the project. Dave Barard played bass. We just had an amazing time. It was just awesome. It was really, really great. […]

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“The ferocity of her delivery”

140114 Shemekia Chicago Tribune

When Chicago blues singer Shemekia Copeland began performing “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo” in concert, she was startled by the response. The song, which unflinchingly addresses violence against women, inspired more than just applause. After concerts, says Copeland, people queued up to speak to her, to share stories, to find comfort.

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune’s music columnist, writes a full feature about Shemekia, about the lyrics of her songs, before her performance at Evanston SPACE.

In truth, Copeland already has done plenty with 33 1/3, its tracks bristling with social and political commentary […] None of the “33 1/3” music, however, is more searing than “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo.” Though Copeland didn’t write the piece – it was penned by John Hahn, her manager, and guitarist Oliver Wood – the message resonates with events Copeland says she has witnessed through friends, which perhaps helps explain the ferocity of her delivery.

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