Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland

33 1/3

Telarc

According to the press release, they still actually have a ceremony that crowns a “Queen of the Blues,” and Ms. Copeland is the reigning diva. I suspect she deserves something for her rich and accessible voice, but a crown and scepter feel a bit tacky. Either way, this is a collection of covers from Dylan to Sam Cook that displays the social conscience you would expect from the blues.

“Lemon Pie” talks about the haves and have-nots, but behind it is great funk guitar by Oliver Wood and an even funkier bass by Ted Pecchio. As Ms. Copeland sings “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo,” we delve into abusive relationships and a brave attempt to escape. It features Buddy Guy on guitar and is as dark a blues song you’ll find anywhere. While “…Tattoo” takes a dim view of love, “Somebody Else’s Jesus” holds an even darker take on organized religion. The music is bright and bouncy; it’s the self righteous preacher that turns her off. There’s an old school country sound in “A Woman,” and while this is technically a blues number, it feel more like a country lament. Copeland’s voice is equally at ease here in Nashville as it is down by the crossroads. She even tackles an old Dylan number “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.”

She’s much smoother than Mr. Z, and sexier as well. Does this young lady deserve a crown? Absolutely, and with some work she might extend her kingdom’s borders to even more distant realms of music.

Shemekia Copeland: shemekiacopeland.com

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