Shemekia Copeland: Never Going Back

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Shemekia Copeland: <em>Never Going Back</em>

Blues singer has potential, but needs to take control of her music

There’s no denying that this 30-year-old blues belter has inherited some estimably smoky chops from her father, Texas bluesman Johnny Copeland.

But there’s a sense of restraint hovering over Shemekia Copeland’s latest, which seems to hew closely—and safely—to producers Oliver Wood and John Hahn’s vision for her (instead of her own). She jumps headlong into the sinister, shuffling grooves of their co-penned “Broken World” and “Never Going Back To Memphis,” but she’s tied to a short tether for the rest of the ho-hum compositions, and only starts tearing it up on covers of Percy Mayfield’s “River’s Invitation” and her dad’s “Circumstances.” She has the potential to be the next Ann Peebles, a real superstar in the blues world. But first she needs to snap that leash.

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