Shemekia Copeland hits hard. Not in the literal sense, of course, but rather through the fearless lyrics and soul-stirring vocals that have made her one of contemporary blues music’s most arresting singers. She’s also a deft chronicler of modern times, using her ferocious voice to propel the genre forward with songs that address racism, xenophobia, and other societal ills. Along the way, she’s garnered raves from fellow musicians, including John Prine, Jason Isbell, and the beloved songwriter Mary Gauthier. “She doesn’t sound like anybody else,” Gauthier says. “Shemekia is one of the great singers of our time. Her voice is nothing short of magic.”
On her eleventh album, Done Come Too Far, Copeland is still pushing. Produced by Nashville ace Will Kimbrough, the album addresses themes of Black resilience, as in the haunting title track, a duet with Hill Country blues great Cedric Burnside. “The Talk” references the conversation she had with her young son about police violence, and in the harrowing “Pink Turns to Red,” she decries gun violence, singing “Open season from a window above/Shooting for no reason killing love.” But she mixes in plenty of lighter moments, too. “Fried Catfish and Bibles” is as much swampy fun as the title might suggest, and her rootsy, laid-back cover of Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Barefoot in Heaven” shows off Copeland’s dynamic range.
One of the album’s highlights is a love song, the rousing “Nobody But You,” which Garden & Gun is proud to premiere below. Copeland’s father is the late Texas blues singer and guitarist Johnny Copeland, and her stomping take on her dad’s song ends the album with a celebratory flourish. “I always try to record one of his songs on my albums,” she says. “‘Nobody But You’ was one of my favorites. It just makes people happy.”
Listen to “Nobody But You” below. Done Come Too Far is available here.