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Never Going Back

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Never Going Back album cover
Sounds Like the Devil
Dirty Water
Broken World
Never Going Back to Memphis
The Truth is the Light
Black Crow
Born a Penny
River's Invitation
Rise Up
Big Brand New Religion
Album Information

Total Tracks: 12   Total Length: 47:50

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Much more than "Johnny's daughter"


A great mix of styles: some straight-ahead blues, a little soul, and more. Some good lyrics, too, especially on "Sounds Like the Devil." Hope she comes to Atlanta soon!

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This music is at the same time funky and dark, and in a very distinctive way "blue". And this album is very addictive, hard to not listen to it every two days or so once you started. The musicians beside Copeland play highly concentrated and with a clear bias towards grooving rhythms. The are imho sometimes close to the order of RnB and even Rock, which isn't a bad thing, although i would have loved one or two more blues-tracks.

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Shemika is growing up


I've been seeing her since she was a child and it is obvious that she is finally coming into her own. She sounds comfortable with her voice and style and has really calmed down her sound. Strong and confident, this is worth a Dld.

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Maybe her best yet


I saw her in concert a couple of years ago, and she was fantastic. Now, if anything, she's even better, because she's developed more variety in her approach to songs. Standouts here are the title cut, "Black Crow," and "Circumstances." If you're into blues or just great singing, get this now.

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I bought this on CD and got it last night. At first listen, this is her best release. 'Never Going Back To Memphis' is the standout here, the song is a terrific mix of blues and soul with a biting guitar line. It's not till the end of the song that you realize it's not herself who is never going back, it's her man. Powerful stuff. All in all, the release is a great mix of blues and soul. It's been called a departure for her, but she sings her heart out on every cut. Nice finishing cut of "Circumstances", originally done by her father, Johnny Copeland.

eMusic Features


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They Say All Music Guide

Shemekia Copeland has moved her recorded product to the TelArc label, has a new producer in Oliver Wood (who doubles on guitar), and pursues a style that seems more refined and less raucous or bawdy than on her previous recordings. The rough edges are shaved, maturity is settling in, and Copeland seems intent on doing things in a more traditional fashion rather than the stomping, tear-the-house-down approach she built her reputation on. She’s using members of Col. Bruce Hampton’s band in bassist Ted Pecchio and drummer Tyler Greenwell, occasionally bassist Chris Wood and keyboardist John Medeski from Medeski, Martin & Wood, guitarist Marc Ribot, and on loan from the Derek Trucks Band, keyboardist Kofi Burbridge for three tracks. These musicians liven up the proceedings considerably, and the production values of this effort are leaner and cleaner than her other discs. Copeland herself sounds incredibly focused and basic, far from slick but not dirty or messy on any level, and her themes reflect a current-life viewpoint that is part optimist and part cynic, with a big parcel of pragmatic realist. Her poignant castigation of God-driven politicians and jive preachers on “Sounds Like the Devil” is spot-on in a slow-plod beat, “Broken World” is an end-all cautionary tale, and “Big Brand New Religion” brings the sentiment full circle as an antithesis in a New Orleans shuffle. Her songs of hope stem from a young mother’s bad-luck struggle in a hard rock two-step during “Rise Up” and the funk-rock “Born a Penny” (featuring Burbridge), which anyone struggling with being born into poverty can relate to. “Never Going Back to Memphis” and Joni Mitchell’s “Black Crow” feature Chris Wood, Medeski, and Ribot, the former a voodoo-type sly and slinky number, the latter a decent light funk revision of the tune. At her most innocent though atypical, Copeland overdubs her singing on “The Truth Is the Light,” only slightly preachy and balanced by some nasty slide guitar work. Another cover, this time of Percy Mayfield’s “River’s Invitation,” seems biographical, as she’s looking for her baby, and it’s a song that suits her toned-town approach. There are harder-edged songs like the bompity-bop New Orleans-flavored “Limousine” and her well-sung, spirited take on dad Johnny Copeland’s “Circumstances,” which is more acoustic and down-home, but essentially it’s all good. There’s little to fault in terms of the diversity she seeks, and there’s no concession to commercialized blues here. All in all, Copeland has delivered a solid set of music, easily recommended, that should please her fans and translate to some dynamic performances on tour. – Michael G. Nastos

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