the free tickets.
remember how i was caller 2 this week? the concert was last night (after trying to get ready while the electricity on our block was out) and we have discovered a new favorite artist: shemekia copeland (who was not the headliner, by the way).
describing her voice is powerful is an extreme understatement. her voice is everything a blues singer's should be: deep, intense, strong, or as her bio states more accurately it's a "huge, blast-furnace" voice. she played just five songs from her volume of work (three albums to date), but those songs left a great impact on my better half (a musician) and i. perhaps my favorite song was "ghetto child" written by her late father, johnny clyde copeland, a texas blues guitarist. not only were the music and lyrics incredibly moving ("but i went to school one mornin'/and the teacher she told me/when you come back child, have on some shoes/i'm just the ghetto child/somebody please please help the ghetto child/i'm just the ghetto child/in this so-called, in this so-called free land"), but she went off-mic during the song and her voice resonated throughout the auditorium loudly, deeply and intimately.
she is backed by an excellent band and a standout drummer, barry harrison. i liked that she was very respectful of her band, letting their solos take the limelight, following with their names and allowing them to shine, too. i could see how someone with that voice could be bigger than life and have that get in the way of the core musicians that make it happen.
i did feel that her stage presence was a little uncertain at times; like she needed to just let go, but that she felt awkward. she commented that she couldn't see us because of the lights and that we were very quiet. i think she needs the energy of a club venue perhaps. next time, i would like to see her at a venue a bit less stodgy that the luckman fine arts complex auditorium at cal state la (albeit a nice one). blues just begs for more loose environs.
(shemekia was followed by headliner, taj mahal who gave such a lackluster performance that we left three songs in. he had a whole jimmy buffet vibe, a sloppy drummer and a whole lotta nothing going on.)
art credit: shemekia copeland.