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Shemekia Copeland returns to Penn’s Peak Friday

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    Shemekia Copeland CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published February 21. 2019 12:38PM

Blues powerhouse Shemekia Copeland returns to Penn’s Peak Friday with her latest release, “America’s Child,” a collection of songs that not only embraces her focus on the social issues of the day, but takes it to a whole new level.

“I have a 2-year-old son,” said Copeland earlier this week from her home in Chicago. “A lot changed for me when I had him. You think about the world, what you’re bringing this kid into, and it really changes you. That’s what this album is about.”

Her son, Johnny Lee Copeland-Schultz, was named for her father, blues guitarist, singer, and Hall-of-Famer, Johnny Clyde Copeland, who died in 1997.

The following year, at the tender age of 18, Copeland took the blues world by storm, garnering praise from everyone from The New York Times to CNN for her talent, personality and star power.

With her groundbreaking debut CD, “Turn the Heat Up,” she became a blues and R&B force to be reckoned with.

“America’s Child” is Copeland’s ninth CD, and with each release, her music has continued to grow and evolve. She has earned eight Blues Music Awards; a host of Living Blues Awards (including the prestigious 2010 Blues Artist of the Year); “Wicked,” released in 2000, received a Grammy nomination; and another Grammy nod in 2012 for “33 1/3,” cementing her reputation as a singer who, according to NPR’s All Things Considered, “embodies the blues with her powerful vocal chops and fearless look at social issues.”

While Copeland doesn’t write her own music, she works closely with those who do.

“I worked with the writers,” she said. “I’ve been working with them for years, so these songs, they are tailor-made for me.”

There are 12 songs on “America’s Child.” And while she doesn’t claim a favorite, there is one that may stand out just a little bit.

“I don’t pick favorites, because I love all these songs, but maybe ‘I Ain’t Got Time for Hate’,” said Copeland. “I’m tackling my usual social injustice, but also racism, which I’ve never done before, and hate.”

Copeland also wanted an emphasis on politics and what’s happening right now in the world.

“I like to stay very current with my topics,” she said. “I had input when they were writing. Always, absolutely.”

For Friday’s concert, Copeland will be backed by Arthur Neilson on guitar, who has been with her for almost 21 years; Kevin Jenkins on bass; Robin Gould on drums; and Willie Scandlyn on rhythm guitar.

“People will be hearing a lot from the new record,” Copeland said. “I have nine records worth of songs and we’ll be mixing some of the old with the new.”

She said her set should last between 75 and 90 minutes.

“We’re going to have a great time; going to have a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to getting back up to the Poconos. I used to live there,” said Copeland who had a home in Lake Harmony for a while. “I still have a lot of friends there.”

Show time is 8 p.m.

Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak Box Office and Roadies Restaurant and Bar. Penn’s Peak Box Office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only, no phone orders.

For more information, go to www.pennspeak.com or call 866-605-7325.

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