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Shemekia Copeland: Almost Unplugged

When blues singer Shemekia Copeland performs live, it's almost guaranteed to be an electrifying experience. A powerful, soulful singer, Copeland leads a tight quartet made up of electric guitar, electric bass, keyboards and drums.

But in this session, recorded at KPLU, we get a rare opportunity to hear Copeland's voice in a more intimate context. Instead of bringing her whole band, she just brought her guitarist, Arthur Neilson. They performed duet arrangements of three songs from Copeland's latest album, Never Going Back: Buddy and Julie Miller's "Dirty Water," "Born a Penny" and "Circumstances," which was written by her father, bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland.

In this session, the younger Copeland talks about the importance of expanding the blues' boundaries, as well as the way turning 30 has made her more comfortable with who she is. She also discusses her recent tour of military bases in Iraq.

Listen to the previous Favorite Session, or see our full archive.

Copyright 2009 KNKX Public Radio

Nick Morrison