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Shemekia Copeland - Uncivil War

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Uncivil War

Shemekia Copeland

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Given the vitally important place the blues holds in the history of black culture, it's surprising (and perhaps a bit disappointing) that so many contemporary blues artists don't deal with more political and social issues in their songs. But Shemekia Copeland is not one of those performers, and her 2020 album, Uncivil War, finds her singing about America's racial and cultural divide with heart, soul, and compassion. Copeland isn't carrying a placard for any particular party on Uncivil War, but she isn't shy about speaking her mind about economic inequality ("Money Makes You Ugly"), the casual racism of urban life ("Walk Before I Ride"), America's obsession with firearms ("Apple Pie and a .45"), prejudice in its many forms ("Give God the Blues"), and the growing failure of opposite sides to simply listen to one another (the title cut), while "Clotilda’s on Fire" offers a valuable history lesson about the last slave ship to reach the United States. Not everything on Uncivil War carries a message, but Copeland sings with strength and clarity on every track, and she can wail with churchy fervor or sound sly and slinky at will. Uncivil War delivers music strong enough to support Copeland's vocal fervor; guitarist Will Kimbrough produced the album, and he's given the material a tough, no-frills sound with just the right amount of grit, as well as bringing in some first-rate guest stars including Jason Isbell, Duane Eddy, and Webb Wilder, as well as bluegrass heroes Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas for the acoustic title tune. Copeland sings hard on Uncivil War, but with a sense of control and a fearless desire to be heard, and she never overdoes it even at her most urgent -- her force is all the more effective for its precision. And somewhere, the late Dr. John is tipping his hat to Copeland for her witty and sincere tribute "Dirty Saint." Shemekia Copeland is one of the best singers in contemporary blues, not just for her voice but for her courage to use it to say something about American culture, and Uncivil War shows good times and a social conscience can co-exist on the same LP.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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Uncivil War

Shemekia Copeland

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1
Clotilda's On Fire
00:04:26

Will Kimbrough, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Will Kimbrough Music c/o Bluewater Music Corp., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

2
Walk Until I Ride
00:04:12

Will Kimbrough, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Will Kimbrough Music c/o Bluewater Music Corp., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

3
Uncivil War
00:04:45

Will Kimbrough, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Will Kimbrough Music c/o Bluewater Music Corp., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

4
Money Makes You Ugly
00:03:36

Will Kimbrough, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Will Kimbrough Music c/o Bluewater Music Corp., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

5
Dirty Saint
00:03:33

Will Kimbrough, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Will Kimbrough Music c/o Bluewater Music Corp., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

6
Under My Thumb
00:03:10

Will Kimbrough, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - KEITH RICHARDS, Composer, Lyricist - MICK JAGGER, Composer, Lyricist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - ABKCO Music, Inc., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

7
Apple Pie and A .45
00:03:45

Will Kimbrough, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Will Kimbrough Music c/o Bluewater Music Corp., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

8
Give God The Blues
00:03:47

Shawn Mullins, Composer, Lyricist - Will Kimbrough, Producer - Chuck Cannon, Composer, Lyricist - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Phil Madeira, Composer, Lyricist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - Warner Tamerlane, MusicPublisher - Roadieodie Music, MusicPublisher - Chuck Cannon Music, MusicPublisher - Nashville Minute, MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

9
She Don't Wear Pink
00:02:58

Will Kimbrough, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - Webb Wilder, Composer, Lyricist - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Montressa Music, MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

10
No Heart At All
00:04:17

Will Kimbrough, Composer, Lyricist, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - Tom Hambridge, Composer, Lyricist - John Hahn, Composer, Lyricist - tom Hambridge Tunes, MusicPublisher - Avarice and Greed Publishing, MusicPublisher - Will Kimbrough Music c/o Bluewater Music Corp., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

11
In The Dark
00:04:27

Will Kimbrough, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - DON ROBEY, Composer, Lyricist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - Herman Parker, Composer, Lyricist - Songs Of Universal, Inc., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

12
Love Song
00:03:03

Will Kimbrough, Producer - Shemekia Copeland, MainArtist - Sean Sullivan, Mixer - Johnny Clyde Copeland, Composer, Lyricist - Johnny Clyde Copeland, Inc., MusicPublisher

2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc. 2020 Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.

Album Description

Given the vitally important place the blues holds in the history of black culture, it's surprising (and perhaps a bit disappointing) that so many contemporary blues artists don't deal with more political and social issues in their songs. But Shemekia Copeland is not one of those performers, and her 2020 album, Uncivil War, finds her singing about America's racial and cultural divide with heart, soul, and compassion. Copeland isn't carrying a placard for any particular party on Uncivil War, but she isn't shy about speaking her mind about economic inequality ("Money Makes You Ugly"), the casual racism of urban life ("Walk Before I Ride"), America's obsession with firearms ("Apple Pie and a .45"), prejudice in its many forms ("Give God the Blues"), and the growing failure of opposite sides to simply listen to one another (the title cut), while "Clotilda’s on Fire" offers a valuable history lesson about the last slave ship to reach the United States. Not everything on Uncivil War carries a message, but Copeland sings with strength and clarity on every track, and she can wail with churchy fervor or sound sly and slinky at will. Uncivil War delivers music strong enough to support Copeland's vocal fervor; guitarist Will Kimbrough produced the album, and he's given the material a tough, no-frills sound with just the right amount of grit, as well as bringing in some first-rate guest stars including Jason Isbell, Duane Eddy, and Webb Wilder, as well as bluegrass heroes Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas for the acoustic title tune. Copeland sings hard on Uncivil War, but with a sense of control and a fearless desire to be heard, and she never overdoes it even at her most urgent -- her force is all the more effective for its precision. And somewhere, the late Dr. John is tipping his hat to Copeland for her witty and sincere tribute "Dirty Saint." Shemekia Copeland is one of the best singers in contemporary blues, not just for her voice but for her courage to use it to say something about American culture, and Uncivil War shows good times and a social conscience can co-exist on the same LP.
© Mark Deming /TiVo

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