Shemekia Copeland Releases New Album ‘Uncivil War’ on October 23

Shemekia Copeland Releases New Album ‘Uncivil War’ on October 23

Press Release

The soulful and uncompromising Uncivil War tackles the problems of contemporary American life head on, with nuance, understanding, and a demand for change.

Alligator Records is pleased to announce the October 23, 2020 release of Uncivil War, the riveting new album by recently-named 2020 Living Blues Female Artist Of The Year and multi-Grammy Award nominee Shemekia Copeland. Uncivil War builds on the musically and lyrically adventurous territory she’s been exploring for over a decade, blending blues, R&B and Americana into a sound that is now hers alone.

The soulful and uncompromising Uncivil War tackles the problems of contemporary American life head on, with nuance, understanding, and a demand for change. It also brings Copeland’s fiercely independent, sultry R&B fire to songs more personal than political.

Uncivil War—recorded in Nashville with award-winning producer and musician Will Kimbrough at the helm—is a career-defining album for Copeland. Among the most striking songs on the album are the true, torn-from-history story of the last slave ship to reach America, “Clotilda’s On Fire,” and the topical title track, a courageous plea for unity in a time of disunion. With songs addressing gun violence (“Apple Pie And A .45”), civil rights (the Staple Singers-esque message song, “Walk Until I Ride”), lost friends (the Dr. John tribute “Dirty Saint”), bad love (Junior Parker’s “In The Dark”) as well as good (“Love Song,” by her father, legendary bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland), Uncivil War is far-reaching, soul-searching and timeless. Guests on Uncivil War include Americana superstar Jason Isbell, legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, Grammy-nominated young guitar star Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, rocker Webb Wilder, rock icon Duane Eddy, mandolin wizard Sam Bush, dobro master Jerry Douglas, and The Orphan Brigade providing background vocals.

Of the new album Copeland says:

I’m trying to put the ‘united’ back in the United States. Like many people, I miss the days when we treated each other better. For me, this country’s all about people with differences coming together to be part of something we all love. That’s what really makes America beautiful.

When Shemekia first broke on the scene with her jaw-dropping Alligator Records debut CD Turn The Heat Up, she instantly became a blues and R&B force to be reckoned with. With each subsequent release — Uncivil War is her ninth album — Copeland’s music has evolved. She continues to broaden her musical vision, melding blues with more rootsy, Americana sounds, and singing about the world around her, shining light in dark places with confidence and well-timed humor. Her recordings have won her worldwide acclaim and dozens of awards. Her previous album, America’s Child, featuring a duet with John Prine and accompaniment from Mary Gauthier and Rhiannon Giddens (among others), was named by MOJO magazine as the #1 blues release of 2018. In addition to her three Grammy nominations, Copeland has won a total of 12 Blues Music Awards and more than 20 Living Blues Awards over the course of her career.

Copeland has performed thousands of gigs at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the world, and has appeared in films, on national television, NPR, and in magazine and newspapers. She’s sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, Dr. John, James Cotton and many others. She opened for The Rolling Stones and entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait. Jeff Beck calls her “amazing.” Santana says, “She’s incandescent…a diamond.” In 2012, she performed with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark, Jr. and others at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. She has performed on PBS’s Austin City Limits and was recently the subject of a six-minute feature on the PBS News Hour. Currently, Copeland can be heard hosting her own popular daily blues radio show on SiriusXM’s Bluesville.

Pre-Order Uncivil War
Shemekia Copeland

*Feature image photo © Marilyn Stringer

Shemekia Copeland Brings Headlines to Life With “Uncivil War”

Shemekia Copeland Brings Headlines to Life With “Uncivil War”

Press Release

For me, this country’s all about people with differences coming together to be part of something we all love. That’s what really makes America beautiful.

Award-winning blues and Americana vocalist Shemekia Copeland releases her timely new song, “Uncivil War“, on Friday, June 19. It is a courageous statement pleading for unity in a time of disunion, and is unlike anything Copeland has previously recorded.

“Uncivil War” takes no sides and speaks to every person’s desire to be safe and free. Featuring iconic mandolin wizard Sam Bush, dobro master Jerry Douglas and background vocals from popular alternative band The Orphan Brigade, the song is simultaneously comforting and challenging, as Copeland sings, “Same old wounds we’ve opened before / Nobody wins an uncivil war.” Shemekia delivers the song with passion and insight about the chaos and uncertainty in the world while still finding light in the darkness and hope for the future.

According to Copeland, “It’s not just a song. I’m trying to put the ‘united’ back in the United States. Like many people, I miss the days when we treated each other better. For me, this country’s all about people with differences coming together to be part of something we all love. That’s what really makes America beautiful.”

Copeland’s instantly recognizable voice is capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring. She is a three-time Grammy nominee with a wide-open vision of contemporary Americana roots, blues and soul music. “Uncivil War” showcases the next step in the evolution of a passionate artist with an up-to-the-minute musical and lyrical approach. The song, written by John Hahn, will be featured on Copeland’s upcoming Alligator Records album.

Copeland’s previous release, America’s Child, cemented her place her as one of blues’ and Americana’s most commanding voices. America’s Child won the Blues Music Award for Album Of The Year, and was named the #1 blues album of 2018 by MOJO magazine. Copeland recently received the 2020 Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist Of The Year, during a special online ceremony.

“Uncivil War” was written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough. Video by Josh Lindner/Alligator Records.

Shemekia Copeland

*Feature image © Mike White / Alligator Records

2020 Blues Music Award Winners

2020 Blues Music Award Winners

JD Nash

Here are your winners from the 41st Blues Music Awards. 2020 saw the awards show virtually, but the Blues Foundation, and all involved created a great event

It is a strange time, but like many artists these days the Blues Foundation found a way for the 41st Annual Blues Music Awards to happen virtually.

The event was hosted by Shemekia Copeland, who won 2 BMAs last year (Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album). She and the presenters which included Ruthie Foster, William Bell, Beth Hart, Charlie Musselwhite, Warren Haynes, Keb’ Mo’ and Fantastic Negrito all did their parts remotely from their homes.

BMA nominees also contributed exclusive performances recorded in their homes, making this virtual event as close to actually being there as possible. Mixed with “Flashback Moments” of performances past, it was truly a great show.


And the 2020 Blues Music Award winners are…

Acoustic Blues Album, Sponsored by Newman, DeCoster
This Guitar and Tonight – Bob Margolin

Acoustic Blues Artist, Sponsored by Folk Alliance International
Doug MacLeod

Doug MacLeod – Photo: Marilyn Stringer

Album of the Year, Sponsored by Rum Boogie Café and Blues Hall
Kingfish – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year, Sponsored by B.B. King’s Blues Club
Sugaray Rayford

Band of the Year
The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling

Historical Album

Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records

Best Emerging Artist Album
Kingfish – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Blues Rock Album
Masterpiece – Albert Castiglia

Blues Rock Artist, Sponsored by Landmark Band
Eric Gales

Contemporary Blues Album
Kingfish – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Shemekia Copeland

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Instrumentalist Bass
Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Photo by: suze72

Instrumentalist Drums
Cedric Burnside

Cedric Burnside by Marilyn Stringer

Instrumentalist Guitar
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Instrumentalist Harmonica, Sponsored by Hohner Harmonica
Rick Estrin

Instrumentalist Horn
Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist Piano (Pinetop Perkins Piano Player)
Victor Wainwright

Instrumentalist Vocals
Mavis Staples

Song of the Year
“Lucky Guy,” written by Nick Moss

Soul Blues Album
Sitting On Top of the Blues – Bobby Rush

Soul Blues Female Artist
Bettye LaVette

Soul Blues Male Artist
Sugaray Rayford

Traditional Blues Album
Lucky Guy! – The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling

Traditional Blues Female Artist  (Koko Taylor Award)
Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Jimmie Vaughan

The Blues Foundation

41st Blues Music Awards Show Will Go On

41st Blues Music Awards Show Will Go On

Press Release


This year’s Blues Music Awards ceremony will be unlike any of its predecessors. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, the annual BMA gala will take place online in living rooms around the world instead of onstage in Memphis. The festivities will commence on May 3 at 5 p.m. EDT, 4 p.m. CDT, and 2 p.m. PDT, and will be live-streamed on The Blues Foundation’s Facebook page and co-broadcasted on its YouTube channel . Barbara Newman, Blues Foundation President and CEO states “our goal this year is to create a global community from all corners of the world, coming together to celebrate the music and heal our souls.”

Multi-BMA winning and GRAMMY® Award nominated artist Shemekia Copeland will host the event from her living room and BMA nominees will contribute exclusive performances recorded in their homes. Like prior BMA ceremonies, this online event will also feature announcements of all nominees and award winners, along with some special guest appearances. A full list of 2020 BMA nominees can be found here.

Not only will the BMA show emanate from artists’ living rooms around the world, but it can be enjoyed by fans from their own homes while socially distancing— making this event one big communal party. Preserving, celebrating and promoting the blues are core missions of The Blues Foundation, which marks its milestone 40th anniversary this year. This unique online experience will allow Facebook viewers to share their thoughts and comments with fellow blues enthusiasts watching worldwide as they celebrate blues’ grand night together.

Of special note, the Foundation has created the COVID-19 Blues Musician Emergency Relief Fund to assist full-time professional blues musicians who have lost their income source due to tour and event cancellations into the foreseeable future. 2020 BMA ticket holders are being asked to convert their purchases into donations to be applied directly to the fund. Monies have already been distributed to blues musicians for rent/mortgage, utilities, cell phone bills, car payments and other vital necessities with hopes for continued fund growth to allow The Blues Foundation to help as many blues musicians as possible. Donations may be made directly online here.

The Blues Foundation is a world-renowned Memphis-based organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Foundation has approximately 4,000 individual members and 173 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals worldwide. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame inductions, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international hub of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance for musicians in need, while Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues Scholarships expose new generations to blues music. The Blues Hall of Fame Museum, located in Downtown Memphis, adds the opportunity for blues lovers of all ages to interact with blues music and history. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the global blues community with answers, information, and news.