“Shemekia’s a ball-of-fire vocalist with a voice that’s part Memphis, part Chicago and all woman… devastatingly powerful. She’s a great singer, period.“
– CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
Whether she’s belting out a raucous blues-rocker, firing up a blistering soul-
shouter, bringing the spirit to a gospel-fueled R&B rave-up or digging deep down into a subtle, country-tinged ballad, Shemekia Copeland sounds like no one else. With a voice that is alternately sultry, assertive and roaring, Shemekia’s wide-open vision of contemporary blues, roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with a modern musical and lyrical approach. The Chicago Tribune says Copeland delivers “gale force singing and power” with a “unique, gutsy style, vibrant emotional palette and intuitive grasp of the music.”NPR Music calls her “fiercely expressive.”
Copeland’s return to Alligator Records with Outskirts Of Love (she recorded four albums for the label from 1998 through 2006) finds her at her most charismatic, performing roots rock, Americana, and blues with power and authority, nuance and shading. Produced by The Wood Brothers’ Oliver Wood, Outskirts Of Love is a musical tour-de-force, with Copeland rocking out on the title track, taking charge in Crossbone Beach, honoring her father, the late Johnny Clyde Copeland with her Afrobeat-infused take on his Devil’s Hand, tackling homelessness on Cardboard Boxand showing off her country swagger on Drivin’ Out Of Nashville. She puts her stamp on songs made famous by Solomon Burke (I Feel A Sin Coming On), Jesse Winchester (Isn’t That So), Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee (The Battle Is Over), Creedence Clearwater Revival (Long As I Can See The Light), ZZ Top (Jesus Just Left Chicago), Albert King (Wrapped Up In Love Again), and Jessie Mae Hemphill (Lord, Help The Poor And Needy). Friends including Billy F Gibbons, Robert Randolph, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Will Kimbrough and Pete Finney all add their talent with unbridled enthusiasm. The result is the most decidedly contemporary and musically adventurous album of Copeland’s still-evolving career.
Copeland has performed thousands of gigs at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the world and has appeared on national television, NPR, and in newspapers, films and magazines. She is a mainstay on countless commercial and non-commercial radio stations. She has sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, James Cotton and many others. She opened for The Rolling Stones and entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait. Jeff Beck calls her “f*cking amazing.” Santana says, “She’s incandescent…a diamond.” 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.” In 2012, she performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Afterward, Jagger, with whom she sang, sent her a bottle of champagne.
With Outskirts Of Love and a packed tour schedule, Copeland has her eyes fixed firmly on the future as she continues to break new musical ground. “I want to keep growing, to be innovative,” she says. “I’m a lifer, singing about things that bother me, using my music to help people. My dad always said ‘we’re all connected.’ I’m an old soul marching to the beat of my own drum,” she continues. “And right now I’m making the most exciting music of my career.