Shemekia Copeland has emerged a one of the most prominent voices of the modern Chicago blues scene, even being declared “Queen of the Blues” at
the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival.
Once a teenage upstart, this heir to the throne of the late Koko Taylor has performed for President Obama at the White House and shared stages with the likes of Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, Jeff Beck and B.B. King. On Tuesday, this daughter of old school blues guitar great Johnny Copeland, releases her latest album “33 1/3,” which includes an appearance by Guy and some intensely personal cover treatments of tunes by Bob Dylan (“I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”), Sam Cooke (Ain’t That Good News”), Lucinda Williams/Randy Weeks (“Lemon Pie”) and her late father (“One More Time”).
“Every one of these songs tells a story about where I am in my life,” said Copeland. “They all connect to something that has happened to me, both good and bad. I’ve experienced a lot since I started making records and touring more than 15 years ago.”
The album’s title is a nod to the old platters Copeland grew up listening to on the family phonograph. “I always loved vinyl records,” she said.
“I loved the whole experience – looking through albums in the bins at the store, taking in the cover design on the sleeve, reading the liner notes while I listened to the music. So when John Hahn, my manager, who also wrote some of the songs on this record, asked me what I grew up listening to, I said, ‘LPs.’ He said, ‘How many times did they go around?’ and I said ‘33 1/3 revolutions per minute.’ He said, ‘How old will you be when this record is released?’ I said ‘33 1/3 years old.’ So it’s a meaningful number for me, especially at this time in my life and career.”
Copeland reflected on her blues calling. “I never wanted to be anything else. I’ve always wanted to be a blues singer,” she said. “I want to see this music evolve and grow, and for that to happen, I have to evolve and grow as an artist. I have to be able to sing a folk song by Bob Dylan, or a country song by Randy Weeks, and reinterpret it in the context of the blues.
Blues are at the heart of just about every other form of American music. It’s a genre that tells stories. I want to tell as many of those stories as I can -- at 331/3 and beyond.”
Copeland will come to the region to celebrate her new album and the blues she loves as the special guest of Jonny Lang and Buddy Guy at Star Plaza Theatre’s “Monster Blues Festival” on October 13. Showtime: 7:30pm.
Tickets: $40-$60. More: (1-800) 745-3000 or WWW.STARPLAZATHEATRE.COM
• The Village of Glenwood present their first annual Oktoberfest
celebration at Glenwood’s beautiful Glenwoodie Golf Park (19301 State Street) this Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 10pm. The family event features a wide variety of authentic German foods, fresh bakery goods and imported options, along with plenty of authentic Bavarian music.
Saturday’s entertainment features renown German musician Peter Hoffmann from noon to 3pm followed by Northwest Indiana’s Deutschmeisters from 6 to 9pm. Performing on Sunday is Die Musikmeisters German Band. Attendance is free for all ages. Dinners are $6 to $12 for adults and $3 to $6 for children.
More: (708) 206-3384.
• If you never got around to tossing out those old spandex from the hair metal days, you may fancy squeezing into them tonight and heading to Northwoods (8101 Rt. 41) in St. John to catch Chicago band Slippery When Wet rocking the region back to the MTV Eighties with cover songs from the likes of Bon Jovi, Poison, Motley Crue and Journey. More: (219) 588-8130 or WWW.NIGHTWOODS.COM
Email Tom Lounges at: firstname.lastname@example.org