Shemekia Copeland put forth an effort this time that is both introductory and ground breaking, as she is stretching beyond the ground she has covered to include brand new dimensions and facets that haven’t been seen before in her work. When you say her name most immediately coming to mind is the Blues and her heritage, from her father Johnny Copeland. Before you pigeonhole her as a blues artist, because that was how she presented herself on her previous albums, and that is what her father was known for, and because she is on Alligator Records, give this a listen here.
When she went to make this album she had her eyes wide open, her mind was wide open as well and that can lead to mind opening decisions and she sure as hell followed those decisions and they opened up all new vistas, which she investigated. The decisions made were groundbreaking and eyes opening, to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean to have Will Kimbrough as the Producer and the main guitar player on this disc, as well as assembling the supporting cast, WOW! I salute him for the job he did and he is one helluva guitar player, whatever the genre. Shemekia has one powerful, expressive, assertive, and at other times seductive and sultry voice. And Will here stands out as a Producer and very expressive guitar player.
When Shemekia Copeland sings the emotions she is feeling and are right there mirrored in her voice for all to feel and hear. She is one of the most expressive and emotional singers I have heard in my many years of listening, right up there with Mavis Staples, Aretha Franklin, and Etta James. There is pain where she feels the pain, joy when the emotion is in her voice, and that aching hurt that sometimes makes an appearance when that emotion is called forth. It is all right there for her.
One of the things about this disc is that each of the players is given the chance to shine. There are plenty of big names on the disc such as Emmylou Harris, Steve Cropper, Mary Gauthier, John Prine and Rhiannon Giddens to name but a handful, but all the musicians, even those whose names aren’t as well known are given their chance to shine and show their chops. One of the finest discs to cross the desk in a long time and the lead off song should become our national anthem, “Ain’t Got Time For Hate.”
(folks i looked all over for a utube of a link to “Ain’t Got Time For Hate” and there isn’t one i could find, i’m sorry but if i find one soon i promise i’ll post it or, you go see her and record it and send it to me and i’ll try and post it – meanwhile you can go to soundcloud and hear it – it is worth it)
by bob gottlieb