140 / 150 Gram Vinyl Record
No. 1 blues album of the year by MOJO Magazine!
Uncivil War finds formidable Chicago blues singer Shemekia Copeland blazing an exhilarating roots music trail, with many of the songs reflecting the spirit of our turbulent times.
For most of the tracks on Uncivil War (on Chicago's Alligator Records label) deal with various aspects of our troubled times, from systemic racism to climate change, from domestic abuse to gun violence. Yet the tone of these songs, most with lyrics by Copeland's longtime manager-songwriter-friend John Hahn, is more convincing than confrontational, more open-armed than clenched fist.
Combine the poetry of Hahn's lyrics with the deep-blues music of guitarist Will Kimbrough (and others), who produced the album, and you have one of the boldest and most persuasive recordings of Copeland's already distinguished career.
Her passion-packed singing breathes fire into solemn, gospel-drenched anthems, lowdown blues, crunching rockers and frisky New Orleans R&B. On captivating original songs and invigorating new takes on tracks by the Rolling Stones, Junior Parker and her father, famed bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland, she commands listeners' attention while exploring life's daily struggles and triumphs, both political and personal.
The album was named the No. 1 blues album of the year in MOJO Magazine's influential annual list.
There's an unrelenting power to Copeland's performance on her 10th album; her rich, grainy vocals, sitting midpoint between Ruth Brown and Mavis Staples have never sounded so forceful, and her songwriting, in the context of a divided America, transmits a sense of solidarity and hope throughout, MOJO writes. Produced by Will Kimbrough, the opener "Clotilda's On Fire" tells the story of America's last slave ship, over fearsome guitar-playing by Jason Isbell; the closer "Love Song" sees daughter pay affectionate tribute to her father Johnny Copeland on his Texas blues. "Walk Until I Ride," an impassioned BLM protest in the style of The Staple Singers and the thoughtful title track — a soulful folk address with mandolin, dobro and Hammond B3 — provide more highlights on this career best.
|1. Clotilda's on Fire|
|2. Walk Until I Ride|
|3. Uncivil War|
|4. Money Makes You Ugly|
|5. Dirty Saint|
|6. Under My Thumb|
|1. Apple Pie and A .45|
|2. Give God the Blues|
|3. She Don't Wear Pink|
|4. No Heart at All|
|5. In the Dark|
|6. Love Song|