Shemekia Copeland

Never Going Back

BY Eric ThomPublished May 5, 2009

Johnny's daughter, Shemekia, had already made her name as a powerful, soul-fired blues belter with four sturdy releases to her credit before signing with label Telarc for this more refined record. Daddy would be proud of this highly mature release, which boasts such surprising talents as guitar wunderkind Marc Ribot and B3 maestro John Medeski. Freed of her barn-burning past, Copeland is free to rediscover her voice in new surroundings, employing her famous father's "less is more" philosophy. The results are comparatively buoyant and refreshing as Copeland tackles covers by Johnny, Joni Mitchell and Buddy Miller, with the disc's standout tracks being Miller's "Dirty Water," "Never Going Back To Memphis" (penned by her producers) and Mitchell's "Black Crow." These three songs run the gamut from blues to jazz, and "Limousine" is decidedly funky. But, above all, this is less a facelift than a natural sophistication born of Copeland's maturity and renewed sense of confidence, matched to her comfort zone and surrounded by refined and supremely talented like-minded players. It's a fair guess that she is never going back from here. This marks a bold step forward and the best is yet to come.

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