Grammy-nominated blues/roots/R&B vocalist Shemekia Copeland performed live and was the subject of a feature interview on PBS's nationally televised program, The Tavis Smiley Show, on Wednesday, November 4. Host Tavis Smiley talked to Copeland about her new CD, Outskirts Of Love, and her life as, according to the Wall Street Journal, "a fresh, gripping roots music performer." For broadcast times and stations, please click here.
MOJO magazine says, "It is Copeland’s thrilling voice, part Koko Taylor, part Mavis Staples and capable of incredible expression, that makes Outskirts Of Love so super-special. Spectacular, stirring, sanctified and sassy…at the crossroads where funk meets blues rock. Her band, led by producer Oliver Wood, and featuring guests Billy F Gibbons, Robert Randolph, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Will Kimbrough, is faultless throughout."
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. She mixes freshly written material with thrilling reinventions of songs originally recorded by Solomon Burke, ZZ Top, Jesse Winchester, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jesse Mae Hemphill and her father, the late Johnny Clyde Copeland. The result is Copeland’s most musically adventurous album of her still-evolving career.
With a voice that is alternately sultry, assertive and roaring, Copeland’s wide-open vision of contemporary blues, Americana, roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with a modern musical and lyrical approach. 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.
She 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's 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.” 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.
Copeland recently appeard on NPR's Weekend Edition and has been touring virtually non-stop. As always, she has her eyes fixed firmly on the future. "I want to keep growing, to be innovative," she says. “I’m a lifer, singing about things that are important to 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.”