Review: Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts of Love
Posted on: Monday, Nov 2, 2015
Shemekia Copeland – Outskirts Of Love
(Alligator Records: ALCD4966)
For her latest release, Shemekia Copeland – the daughter of the legendary Texas bluesman, Johnny Copeland – has recorded “Outskirts Of Love” in Nashville, at Southern Ground and Sound Emporium studios . . . and what a fine rootsy and bluesy 12-track collection the lady with the big voice has produced!
As well as her core band of Oliver Wood (guitar and backing vocals), Jano Rix (drums, percussion and keyboards) and Lex Price (bass), some ‘heavyweight’ guests help out . . . but more of them later. The music blends plenty of blues, but with a more rootsy and rocking sound on a mix of new material and some choice covers.
The music gets off to a rousing starter with the strutting rocker of the title track, “Outskirts Of Love”, with the additional guitar muscle provided by Will Kimbrough – who plays on a good few tracks – and a soulful vocal from the lady herself; her late father’s funky blues “Devil’s Hand” is covered in fine style; with a standout being a co-write between Ian Siegal and John Hahn, the excellent ‘low down’ “Cardboard Box”, with Alvin Youngblood Hart along for the ride on guitar and vocals.
“Drivin’ Out Of Nashville”, no surprise, is a country rocker that rattles along courtesy of the guitars of co-writer Oliver Wood and Will Kimbrough and super pedal steel from Pete Finney. If you’re going to cover a classic like ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago” it can’t help to have the man himself . . . the Rev Billy F Gibbons . . . on board laying down his trademark ‘killer’ guitar tones!
John Fogarty’s beautiful “Long As I Can See The Light” is the perfect song to show off Shemekia’s voice and it is a quite breathtaking version, with some lovely slide guitar and the whole band contributing to one of the album highlights. The mood changes on a funky Albert King tune, “Wrapped Up In Love Again – with additional guitar from Arthur Neilson. This most recommended release ends with the gospel-flavoured “Lord, Help The Poor And Needy” . . . a fitting end to a most enthralling recording from a most talented lady.
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