Title: America’s Child
Artist: Shemekia Copeland
Formats: CD, Digital
Release Date: August 3, 2018
Since her Outskirts of Love release, “Queen of the Blues” Shemekia Copeland has been striving for a deeper representation of Americana blues. With her newest offering, she has done just that. Combining elements of rock, soul and country, America’s Child is Copeland’s most diverse and compelling work yet. Americana Instrumentalist of the Year winner Will Kimbrough both produces and plays guitar on the album with additional contributors Emmylou Harris, Steve Cropper, J.D. Wilkes, and Al Perkins adding their own unique stylings that seamlessly blend with Copeland.
The opening track, “Ain’t Got Time for Hate,” has an immediate drive and speaks right to the heart of those fed up with the current atmosphere: “One more moment is a moment too late / We ain’t got time for hate.” “Americans,” the next offering, is chock full of slide guitar and open-mindedness about the wonderful diversity within United States: “We’re walkin’, talkin’ contradictions / No two are the same / That’s what makes us beautiful / I hope we never change.” Songwriting props for this song and for “Smoked Ham and Peaches” go to executive producer John Hahn and Mary Gauthier for their collaborative work.
Music legend John Prine joins Copeland on his own “Great Rain,” with Copeland adding her sultry, stirring pipes to Prine’s classic blues chords and vocal growl. Her cover of the Kinks’ “I’m Not Like Everybody” transforms this iconic song into a blues-fueled declaration of independence. Two ballads dominate the line-up as well, adding a softer-yet-edgy sound to Copeland’s repertoire: “Promised Myself,” written by her father the late bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland and the traditional “Go To Sleepy Little Baby.”
Throughout the album, Copeland sings with passion and insight about the chaos and uncertainty in the world while still finding joy all around her. Confidently announcing a new chapter in a constantly evolving story, America’s Child is a courageous and fiery statement of purpose, and a major step forward for the singer whose musical consciousness continues to expand as her star continues to rise.
Reviewed by Amy Aiyegbusi