Shemekia Copeland: Black Crow
Shemekia Copeland (vocals)
Never Going Back (Telarc 83692)
Shemekia Copeland (vocals),
Oliver Wood (guitar), Ted Pecchio (bass), Tyler Greenwell (drums, percussion), Kofi Burbridge (Wurlitzer piano).
Composed by Joni Mitchell.
Recorded: New York, no date given (CD released in 2009)
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Popular music has begged, borrowed and stolen from the blues over the years, but rarely pays back in kind. Yet blues music would benefit from a closer relationship with the more creative currents of pop-rock. Here Shemekia Copeland takes on a Joni Mitchell song, and shows what new dimensions emerge when a leading blues diva puts her personal stamp on a poetic pop song. Joni Mitchell's compositions are notoriously resistant to "cover" versions—although many have tried—because her original statements of these songs are so married to her idiosyncratic vocal delivery. Yet Copeland cuts through the difficulties, and unlike so many others, does not try to channel Mitchell's persona while interpreting her music. Shemekia has her own style and sound, and it commands the center stage whether belting out a big blues to the back row or, as in this instance, probing the emotional interstices in a winsome ballad.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia