Episode 70: Shemekia Copeland was born to sing, raised by blues royalty. Her dad, Johnny Clyde Copeland, took his Louisiana and Texas roots to the New York City area where he based a career that landed him a Grammy award and a spot in the Blues Hall of Fame.
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Shemekia sang all her life and by 18 she was on record and on the minds of everyone looking at the next generation of the blues. And she’s won a raft of awards in her genre. Thing is though, she’s a wide ranging artist who wants to see the blues evolve and expand, so in the past few years, she and Americana have found one another in a big way. She came to Nashville to make her last two albums, calling on Will Kimbrough as a guitar player and writer on both and producer on her latest, America’s Child. That album, released in September, is a pointed political and humanistic statement that features guest turns by Mary Gauthier, John Prine, and Emmylou Harris. Her showcase was one of the most anticipated at AmericanaFest 2018. Also, Austin’s Band of Heathens addresses their latest politically charged release, a song-by-song cover of the 1972 Ray Charles album A Message From The People.