“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!

Read the full review in Something Else!LOGO something else


Outskirts of Love is out!

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Outskirts of Love is out! You can discover all the 12 tracks, including those with special guests Billy Gibbons, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Robert Randolph. Listen to it in the MUSIC section.

The album has received outstanding reviews even before the official release: “Copeland tops herself on cut after cut. This is how you do it, and nobody does it better than Shemekia Copeland” (No Depression), “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” (American Songwriter), “Her voice is like thunder, complete with lightning” (WBGO), “Shemekia’s voice possesses more nuance; more expression, and more drama than ever before” (Making a Scene), “Shemekia Copeland (is) extending her definition of modern blues to include a sort of pan-Americana approach. […] With crucial contributions from her manager/producer/songwriter John Hahn, Copeland has crafted an album that speaks to the times” (NPR), “It’s Copeland’s voice, part Koko Taylor, part Mavis Staples and capable of incredible expression, that makes this so super-special” (MOJO), “Where once we had Bessie Smith, Ruth Brown, Dinah Washington and Etta James, today we have Shemekia Copeland, a worthy successor to her legendary forebears […] There’s something for everyone on these Outskirts […] She proves genre is a dirty word, and interpretation a talent too often overlooked” (Classicalite). Same stellar reviews in France: “The album of the maturity for the ‘New Queen of the Blues’ […] Never has Shemekia sounded better” (Blues Again), “From blues rock to gospel, from soul to funk or folk music, Shemekia […] can sing it all, and with talent too) (Zicazic). Find all the reviews in the REVIEWS section.

Shemekia and her band start their big Outskirts of Love Fall Tour today at the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine. The show is sold out. But there are many more shows and festivals to come. Discover them in the TOUR section.

Shemekia Copeland © Photo Mike White

Shemekia Copeland © Photo Mike White / Alligator Records

“Nobody does it better”

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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.

Read the full review on No DepressionLOGO no depression

“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.

Read the full review in American SongwriterLOGO american songwriter

Ready to hit the road!

We are so happy to hit the road soon to come and see you! First show in Maine is sold out, but there are plenty of other venues and festivals coming up.

Check out the schedule.

“Her voice is like thunder”

When she first came along, someone matter-of-factly called Shemekia Copeland “the Future of Blues.” She’s lived up to that ever since. When she sings at a gig, her voice is like thunder. Complete with lightning.

[…] What’s been more and more characteristic of the songs she sings is that she sings about the real world that’s happening all around us, and that’s especially so about the new album.

Gravitas is not a word that usually shows up when talking about the blues, and yet no other music is as seriously profound about life. The broken hearts of love gone wrong. The anger that comes when feeling lost in a bottle or a gutter.

The songs that she sings on Outskirts of Love, especially songs written for Shemekia by producer John Hahn and guitarist Oliver Wood, get even deeper into troubles being faced more and more today. Being abused and waking up on Crossbone Beach. Helplessly living in a Cardboard Box. […] Not that the songs are all so deeply dark. Shemekia also gets in some laughs about the music biz, like the song Driving Out of Nashville —where country music “ain’t nothing but blues with a twang!”

Michael Bourne, host of WBGo’s Blues Hour and Singers Unlimited.

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“More drama than ever before”

Shemekia’s voice possesses more nuance; more expression, and more drama than ever before. In 2011 she was named the reigning “Queen of The Blues” and she is living up to that title.

The album opens with the first of three from the songwriting team of Hahn and Wood. The title track Outskirts of Love; Crossbone Beach featuring Robert Randolph on steel guitar; and my favorite Drivin’ Out of Nashville with the line “country music ain’t nothing but the blues with a twang”; I love the Roy Nichol’s type guitar licks included here (Nichol was Merle Haggard’s guitarist). Cardboard Box was written by Hahn with Ian Siegel and it’s a vocal duet with Shemekia and Alvin Youngblood Hart.

[…] This may arguably be Shemekia’s best. Outskirts of Love is a mature recording that will result in additional kudo’s for Ms. Copeland.

Richard Ludmerer, on Making A Scene.

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“Incredible life experiences”

“There are not many singers who can say they’ve shared stages with music legends like Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. Of these individuals, there are probably even fewer who are able to say they’ve performed at the White House for President Barack Obama. For blues singer Shemekia Copeland, these incredible life experiences are an actuality,” writes Zach Hansen in The Red & Black. The journalist asked Shemekia some interesting questions about her upcoming CD Outskirts of Love before her Wednesday, September 16, performance at The Foundry, in Athens, Georgia.

Read the full interview in The Red & BlackLOGO the red and black

“She can sing it all”

There is one thing that is particularly difficult when writing about Shemekia Copeland: It is not to use superlatives in each sentence, because the diva is so unique. From blues rock to gospel, from soul to funk or folk music, Shemekia —whom we don’t need to present as the daughter of late Johnny Copeland as she really managed to make herself a first name— can sing it all, and with talent too.

By Fred Delforge, in French webzine Zicazic.

Read the whole review (in French) about Shemekia, “real ambassador of contemporary blues,” and Outskirts of Love on Zicazic.

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“Amazingly eclectic”

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“Copeland’s voice is legit. Think Etta James, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown, Mavis Staples,” writes Lauren Daley in South Coast Today, to announce Shemekia’s headlining show at the 14th Annual Narrows Festival of the Arts, in Fall River, Massachussets, on September 13.

“Her new album, Outskirts of Love, drops two days before her Fall River concert, so she’ll probably —hopefully— sing a few tracks off that, because it’s amazingly eclectic. It’s largely her interpretations of songs by artists including her father, the late Texas guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, to ZZ Top, Solomon Burke, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jesse Winchester, Albert King and, two of my favorites, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee.”

Read the whole story in South Coast Today.LOGO south coast today