New release: Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War (Alligator Records, 23.10.2020)

Uncivil War is the bold new release from award-winning blues and roots maverick Shemekia Copeland. Produced in Nashville by esteemed Americana guitarist and songwriter Will Kimbrough, Uncivil War is a career-defining album for three-time Grammy nominee Copeland.

From the passionate lead track, Clotilda’s On Fire, featuring superstar Jason Isbell on searing lead guitar, to the Staple Singers-inspired Walk Until I Ride to the heartfelt call for unity of the title track, Uncivil War is striking and adventurous. Blending blues, R&B and Americana into a sound that is all her own, Copeland delivers one of the most enthralling and urgent roots albums of the year.

Uncivil War contains a staggering array of all-star special guests including Steve Cropper, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Duane Eddy, Webb Wilder, Jason Isbell and more.

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Shemekia Copeland - Uncivil War


Alligator Records is pleased to announce the October 23, 2020 release of Uncivil War, the riveting new album by recently-named 2020 Living Blues Female Artist Of The Year and multi-Grammy Award nominee Shemekia Copeland. Uncivil War builds on the musically and lyrically adventurous territory she’s been exploring for over a decade, blending blues, R&B and Americana into a sound that is now hers alone.

The soulful and uncompromising Uncivil War tackles the problems of contemporary American life head on, with nuance, understanding, and a demand for change. It also brings Copeland’s fiercely independent, sultry R&B fire to songs more personal than political. NPR Music calls Shemekia “authoritative” and “confrontational” with “punchy defiance and potent conviction. It’s hard to imagine anyone staking a more convincing claim to the territory she’s staked out—a true hybrid of simmering, real-talking spirit and emphatic, folkie- and soul-style statement-making.”

Video: Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War

Shemekia Copeland - Uncivil War


Uncivil War—recorded in Nashville with award-winning producer and musician Will Kimbrough at the helm—is a career-defining album for Copeland. Among the most striking songs on the album are the true, torn-from-history story of the last slave ship to reach America, Clotilda’s On Fire, and the topical title track, a courageous plea for unity in a time of disunion. With songs addressing gun violence (Apple Pie And A .45), civil rights (the Staple Singers-esque message song, Walk Until I Ride), lost friends (the Dr. John tribute Dirty Saint), bad love (Junior Parker’s In The Dark) as well as good (Love Song, by her father, legendary bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland), Uncivil War is far-reaching, soul-searching and timeless. Guests on Uncivil War include Americana superstar Jason Isbell, legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, Grammy-nominated young guitar star Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, rocker Webb Wilder, rock icon Duane Eddy, mandolin wizard Sam Bush, dobro master Jerry Douglas, and The Orphan Brigade providing background vocals.

Of the new album Copeland says, “I’m trying to put the ‘united’ back in the United States. Like many people, I miss the days when we treated each other better. For me, this country’s all about people with differences coming together to be part of something we all love. That’s what really makes America beautiful.”

When Shemekia first broke on the scene with her jaw-dropping Alligator Records debut CD Turn The Heat Up, she instantly became a blues and R&B force to be reckoned with. With each subsequent release — Uncivil War is her ninth album — Copeland’s music has evolved. She continues to broaden her musical vision, melding blues with more rootsy, Americana sounds, and singing about the world around her, shining light in dark places with confidence and well-timed humor. Her recordings have won her worldwide acclaim and dozens of awards. Her previous album, America’s Child, featuring a duet with John Prine and accompaniment from Mary Gauthier and Rhiannon Giddens (among others), was named by MOJO magazine as the #1 blues release of 2018. In addition to her three Grammy nominations, Copeland has won a total of 12 Blues Music Awards and more than 20 Living Blues Awards over the course of her career.

Shemekia Copeland Premieres Video For New Song, “Clotilda’s On Fire”
Powerful Lead Track From New Album, Uncivil War, Features Jason Isbell On Guitar

Shemekia Copeland - Clotilda's On Fire


“Shemekia Copeland is a powerhouse, a superstar…She can do no wrong”
–Rolling Stone

“Shemekia Copeland’s voice is rich, soulful and totally commanding…authoritative, passionate and raw”

“Copeland provides a soundtrack for contemporary America…powerful, ferocious, clear-eyed and hopeful…She’s in such control of her voice that she can scream at injustices before she soothes with loving hope. It sends shivers up your spine.”
–Living Blues

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