A “packed house” in Pittsburgh

Shemekia Copeland performed “to a packed house at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture,” writes  The Pittsburgh Courier. The newspaper also published photos of Shemekia with fans after the show.

160403 Shemekia Copeland photo JL Martello

Shemekia Copeland at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh – Photo J.L. Martello / The Pittsburgh Courier

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“Who is Shemekia?”
by P. G. Sturges

151104 Shemekia Copeland PG Sturges

“With my pal and favorite mystery writer, P.G. Sturges,
hanging in LA. You’ve gotta check out his books. They’re great!”
Shemekia Copeland and P. G. Sturges, Los Angeles, November 2015


Who is Shemekia?

Shemekia Copeland, Outskirts of Love, Alligator Records.

Suffice to say this is a beautiful recording of fine musicians interpreting strong songs. Sophisticated yet rough, Stones-y, satisfying. Plenty of surprising musical details to reward your third and fourth hearings of this album. And your fifth and sixth. Nominated for a Grammy, Best Blues Album 2015.

But what takes this effort into the sublime is the work of Ms. Copeland. Music is a curious thing, different from other arts. A painting can be studied in its entirety, at once, there it is, stretched before your eyes. Sculpture is similar. Walk around it, that’s all there is. But music, to the listener, is a balancing act. A comparison. What comes first with what comes later, the relationship of the various ingredients, what is repeated, what is suggested, what we crave to hear again – but don’t. These things, and much more, or much less, are what constitute a memorable song.

But Ms. Copeland is not in the memorable song business, though her efforts are, indeed, memorable. A memorable song creates a benign curiosity. Nice song. Who did that? Hmm. Cool.

But every once in a while, once in a great while, at the confluence of hard, hard, hard work and natural talent, a VOICE emerges. When we listen to these VOICES, we are transported into the direct PRESENCE of these people. We are not listening to a nice song sung well, we are listening to the testimony of a truthful witness in the game of life. Aretha, Mavis, Ol’ Blue Eyes, Willie, Nina. And yes, Shemekia.

When I listen to Shemekia, I am in the presences of a living, breathing person. A person I wish I knew better. A person I wish could know me. When you hear a VOICE, it summons personality and possibility, anticipation and regret, longing and leaving. Who is this person? Singing to me so personally. How did he or she become who they became? Where in this world, at this very moment, are they? As time cuts away the both of us.

On Outskirts of Love, produced with obvious joy and confidence by Oliver Wood and John Hahn, Shemekia will tell you stories. Tears and laughter, fire and rain. And when the last cut fades away as you’re driving down the road, you know what you’ll do? You’ll play it again.

And you’ll wonder. Who is Shemekia?

p.g.sturges 2016

“Shemekia’s shows
leave the fans awe-struck”

“I’m excited about performing at the August Wilson Center,” said Copeland.” It’ll be nice to perform in a different venue in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is such a great town and the fans there are great.”

Copeland tore the roof of off Club Cafe in October to promote her eighth album “Outskirts of Love,” which was released in September on Alligator Records.

By Genea Webb, in ”Blues powerhouse Copeland promises to take August Wilson Center stage by storm” published by the New Pittsburgh Courier before Shemekia’s performance this Friday night at the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh, Pensylvania.

“Copeland’s energy-packed shows leave the fans, which she readily interacts with after each performance, awe-struck,” adds Genea Webb.

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“Lady swings the blues”

160204 shemekia syracuse new times

Shemekia Copeland was born into a musical family. Her father, Johnny Copeland, was a blues guitarist and singer who encouraged her to follow her own musical path. When she was just 8 years old, he brought her to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club. Although she wasn’t ready for it then, later in her teens, when her father started slowing down, she ramped up.

Copeland has rejoined her former label, Alligator Records, and released Outskirts of Love in 2015. […] “This record is my third Grammy nomination,” Copeland says. “I’m really excited about that. The album is doing well and I’m real proud of it.”

Jessica Novak interviewed Shemekia Copeland before here tour brings her to stop at Homer’s Center for the Arts, in Homer, New York, this Saturday, February 6. The interview, “Lady swings the blues,” was published in the Syracuse New Times. Shemekia talks about the lyrics of her albums, her collaboration with her manager John Hahn, her tour in Iraq and Koweit, a life-changing experience…

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#2 in Living Blues’
top chart of 2015

Shemekia’s Outskirts of Love is second in Living Blues’ Radio Chart top 50 albums of 2015, right behind Buddy Guy’s Born To Play Guitar.

Both albums are nominated in the Best Blues Album category for a Grammy Award.

Living Blues Magazine

Shemekia to headline
at Chicago Blues Festival

160202 Shemekia Chicago Blues Fest

Photo ABC 7

The headliners have been announced for the 33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival happening June 10-12 in Grant Park.

The free admission three-day festival will open on Friday, June 10, with a celebration of the 45th anniversary of Chicago’s Alligator Records, and conclude on Sunday, June 12, with a special tribute to the legendary Otis Rush featuring notable friends and other musicians he has influenced throughout his career. […]

The festival opens on June 10 with a salute to Chicago’s Alligator Records for 45 years of what the label describes as “genuine houserockin’ music.” Deeply rooted in the blues, several of the label’s renowned recording artists will perform at the Petrillo Music Shell to kick-off the festival.

2015 Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland will headline the tribute with a sizzling performance of her many hits since her debut in 1998. Having been called “the next Aretha Franklin” by CNN, Shemekia Copeland has a passion for the blues along with a vision and personality that’s just as strong and unflinching as her incredible voice. She will take the stage at 8:15 p.m. along with guest Curtis Salgado, the award-winning blues icon and Alligator artist.

On ABC 7 Eyewitness NewsLOGO abc7 news

“The opening night of the 33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival (June 10), will be a celebration of Alligator Records and the 45 years of bringing you the best in blues!” says Alligator Records. “Headlining that night on the Petrillo Bandshell will be Tommy Castro & The Painkillers with special guest Toronzo Cannon, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials with Corky Siegel, and Shemekia Copeland with special guest Curtis Salgado.”

The Chicago Sun Times also published a story. LOGO Chicago Sun Times Entertainment

“With feeling and force”

02 Shemekia Copeland © Photo Joseph A. Rosen - small

Shemekia Copeland © Photo Joseph A. Rosen

Singer Shemekia Copeland isn’t trying to revive some vintage sound from Chicago or the Mississippi Delta. On her most recent record, 2015’s “Outskirts of Love,” she sings with feeling and force, taking classic rock songs like ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” and CCR’s “Long As I Can See The Light” and turning up their Sunday-morning quality while retaining some Saturday-night swagger.

By John Adamian, in Connecticut Now, before Shemekia’s show at the Wadsworth Atheneum, in Hartford, Connecticut, on Friday, February 5th.

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“Some pretty legendary people”

In her relatively short life, Shemekia Copeland has been associated with some pretty legendary people […] Copeland has played for President Barack Obama at the White House, sharing the bill with Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and B.B. King. We’re not done name-dropping: She also was a featured performer for a 2015 concert at Harlem’s Apollo Theater, along with Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Elvis Costello.

Copeland says she wants to make blues relevant to a new generation while respecting its roots. “I want to see this music evolve and grow, and for that to happen, I have to evolve and grow as an artist,” she said in a press release. “I have to be able to sing a folk song by Bob Dylan and a country song by Randy Weeks and interpret it in the context of the blues.”

By Betsie Freeman in “Copeland ready to usher blues into a new era” published by the Omaha World-Herald in it’s Go section, before Shemekia’s sold-out show this  Saturday, January 30th, at the Holland Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Shemekia on NPR’s World Cafe

World Cafe will feature an interview with Shemekia Copeland this Thursday, January 28th. This feature also includes portions of her performance from WXPN’s Free At Noon concert that originally aired in October.

NPR’s World Cafe can be heard nationwide on over 200 stations and all over the world thanks to the live stream on the internet. The WXPN Philadelphia stream can be heard at 2 pm ET on XPN.orgAt approximately 5 pm ET the same day, the episode will be featured as the current show and archived for on-demand streaming on World Cafe.

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Here is the podcast of the show.

Shemekia Copeland, daughter of the late bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland, got her start when she first took the stage with him at age 8; she released her first album 10 years later. In this session, she explains that she’s always had a powerful voice, but had to learn the subtleties of singing.

In this episode, Copeland performs at WXPN’s Free At Noon concert, where she sings songs from her latest album, Outskirts Of Love.

Shemekia “soulful”
on World Cafe

Shemekia Copeland KRCB radio

Shemekia Copeland is featured on Thursday, January 28th, on World Cafe, a radio program broadcasted from 2 to 4 PM weekdays on KRCB (North Bay Public Media). The program, hosted by long-time Philadelphia radio personality David Dye, has been a showcase for contemporary music “serving up an eclectic blend that includes blues, rock, world, folk, and alternative country” since 1991.

“Long-time blues artist Shemekia Copeland gets soulful on her recently released eighth album, Outskirts of Love,” announces the radio.

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