After listening to Shemekia Copeland sing her powerful, no-nonsense brand of blues, your knee-jerk reaction might be to spout Aretha Franklin, Koko Taylor, or Etta James comparisons. In truth, you could not pay Ms. Copeland a more sincere compliment, as these seasoned blues and R&B songstresses are twice her age. Shemekia Copeland, daughter of the late Texas blues guitarist Johnny Clyde Copeland, is nineteen years old and sings with the conviction of a woman who has seen a lifetime of blues.
Shemekia hit the blues scene at the age of 8, singing on stage with her father in clubs around the country. This sink-or-swim introduction to live performance has cultivated an intense, confident vocal style that shines brightly on her debut album, Turn the Heat Up. In addition, Turn the Heat Up contains a hot formula to ensure Shemekia’s success. As a complement to her passionate, unwavering voice, she is backed by some of the finest modern blues musicians around. The bulk of the guitar work is offered by Jimmy Vivino, with guitarist Michael Hill sitting in on “I Always Get My Man,” and Monster Mike Welch contributing his melodic guitar lines on her father’s song, “Ghetto Child.”
Shemekia’s endless supply of energy reaches new heights when she is joined by Joe Louis Walker on vocals and guitar for the raucous blues number, “My Turn Baby.” They both seem to be equally inspired as each lyrical exchange ups the ante for new intensity during the song’s closing moments.
This debut allows Shemekia to flex her vocal might across a variety of blues styles while coloring each with her own personal sensibilities. Shemekia raises the temperature to boil during Turn the Heat Up, and you can look for her to continue her assault on the blues world with each subsequent release. Alligator Records, Box 60234, Chicago, IL 60660