Shemekia Copeland, Bridget Kearney and the T Sisters on Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage with Larry Groce

Shemekia Copeland, Bridget Kearney and the T Sisters on Mountain Stage

Sun ยท April 9, 2017

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:00 pm (event ends at 10:00 pm)

$20-$32

This event is all ages

Prefer to order your tickets over the phone? Call 740-371-5152

Shemekia Copeland
Shemekia Copeland
At a young age, Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with in the blues. While only in her early 30's, she's opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival and numerous festivals around the world, scored critics choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London), shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, and has even performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Heir to the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, the singer was presented with Taylor's crown by her daughter, Cookie, on June 12, 2011 at the Chicago Blues Festival and given the honor of the new "Queen of the Blues" by official proclamation of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.

Copeland's passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music a timeless power and a heart-pounding urgency. Her music comes from deep within her soul and from the streets where she grew up, surrounded by the everyday sounds of the city โ€“ street performers, gospel singers, blasting radios, bands in local parks and so much more.

Born in Harlem, New York, in 1979, Copeland actually came to her singing career slowly. Her father, the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, recognized his daughter's talent early on. He always encouraged her to sing at home, and even brought her on stage to sing at Harlem's famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. At the time, Shemekia's embarrassment outweighed her desire to sing. But when she was fifteen and her father's health began to fail, her outlook changed. "It was like a switch went off in my head, and I wanted to sing," she says. "It became a want and a need. I had to do it."

At only 19, Shemekia stepped out of her father's shadow with the Alligator release of 1998 debut recording, Turn the Heat Up!, and the critics raved. The Village Voice called her "nothing short of uncanny," while the Boston Globe proclaimed that "she roars with a sizzling hot intensity." A year later, she appeared in the Motion Picture Three To Tango, while her song "I Always Get My Man, was featured in the film Broken Hearts Club.

Her second album, Wicked, released in 2000, scored three Handy Awards (Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, Contemporary Female Artist of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination. Two years later, New Orleans R&B legend Dr. John stepped in to produce her third recording, Talking To Strangers (2002), which Vibe called "a masterful blend of ballsy rockers and cheeky ballads."

Copeland released The Soul Truth in 2005. The album was produced by legendary Stax guitarist Steve Cropper (who also played on the CD), and featured generous doses of blues, funk and Memphis-flavored soul.

Never Going Back, her 2009 debut on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group, captured Copeland at a crossroads on that artistic path. While Copeland will always remain loyal to her blues roots, Never Going Back took a more forward view of the blues, and in so doing pointed her music and her career in a new direction. Produced by Oliver Wood, guest players included John Medeski, Marc Ribot and Chris Wood.

"I've had success in my career, and I'm happy with that," she says. "But that doesn't mean I don't want to continue to grow. In order for an artist to grow โ€“ and for a genre to grow โ€“ you have to do new things. I'm extremely proud to say I'm a blues singer, but that doesn't mean that's the only thing I'm capable of singing, or that's the only style of music I'm capable of making."

She adds: "I want to keep growing. My main goal when I started this was that I was going to do something different with this music, so that this music could evolve and grow. I got that idea from my father. He didn't do the typical one-four-five blues. He went to Africa and worked with musicians there. He was one of the first blues artists to do that. I want to be the same way. I want to be innovative with the blues."
Bridget Kearney
Bridget Kearney
Bridget Kearney Won't Let You Down In the 12 years she has toured the world as a member of the soul pop sensation Lake Street Dive, Bridget Kearney has gotten good at a lot of things: adjusting to jet lag, sleeping in moving vehicles, hauling her acoustic bass up and down stairs, keeping her cool in front of cameras, thousands of people and personal heroes. But the skill she has honed most obsessively is songwriting. "For me it's the best part of music," says Kearney. "That's the best feeling: after those few hours that you spend working on the song, and you have this thing that you've made, and you're like, 'Wow. This didn't exist before. I'm so excited about what just happened.' Now, at long last, Kearney steps into the spotlight with her first solo effort, a wry, big hearted pop album entitled Won't Let You Down. The record, like its title, promises not to disappoint.

Kearney grew up in Iowa City and went to college in Boston, where she double majored in jazz bass at the New England Conservatory of Music and English at Tufts University. While still a student, she won the grand prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, a harbinger of things to come. It was during this time, too, that Kearney and three of her fellow conservatory students founded Lake Street Dive. But Kearney has always been voraciously collaborative, dabbling in chamber pop with the Brooklyn group Cuddle Magic, bluegrass with the now defunct Boston outfit Joy Kills Sorrow, and Ghanian music as part of a duo with fellow songwriter Benjamin Lazar Davis.

The recording process for Won't Let You Down began when drummer/engineer/producer Robin MacMillan invited Kearney to record a few songs at his Brooklyn studio. The sessions, which took place over the course of three years, were leisurely and experimental, free of a label imposed deadline or a rental fee. "The answer to everything was 'Yes. Let's try it,' Kearney remembers.

One of the things I like about Robin as a producer is he seems to be able to disassociate an instrument with its stylistic history and just kind of hear it for the sound it's creating," says Kearney, who played electric bass, piano, synthesizers, organ, electric guitar and acoustic guitar on Won't Let You Down. The album abounds with peculiar noises: an unidentifiable yelp, something distinctly kazoo like, the distant whistle of a steaming kettle. Shades of The Beatles, Wilco, Fleetwood Mac and even Nick Cave can be detected, as the album swerves from '60s pop to '80s soft rock to Gothic Americana.

Won't Let You Down is the first project in which Kearney has appeared as the primary vocalist. "I've always had this affinity for singers and songs that are kind of vulnerable sounding and flawed," she says. "I'm not a trained singer or a really powerful singer, so that's something that you can kind of use as an advantage in your writing. You can say some things that are vulnerable and personal, and I think it can come across more powerfully with a voice that's imperfect."

Kearney's lyrical talent stems from her ability to unlock the profundity in details both small and strange. She jokingly describes the song "Daniel" as being "about when you have a sexy dream about someone, and how weird that is." But in Kearney's hands the concept transforms into something at once aching and exquisite, an earnest pop concoction with a conflicted soul.

Tasked with naming her favorite song, Kearney chooses "Wash Up," a dreamy soft rock jam about running into an old lover. "It's one of my favorite kinds of songs," she says. "These crying on the dance floor kinds of things, where the track is kind of bumpin', but when you listen to the lyrics you realize it's actually a sad song." "Wash Up" is classic Kearney: a light touch undergirded by dark self awareness, and endlessly hummable.

On Won't Let You Down, buoyancy is always tempered by melancholy. But just as often, wistfulness is undercut by a twinkle in the eye. It's "this cross section of sadness and humor," says Kearney. "When you're getting over crying, and you just start to laugh."
Venue Information:
PEOPLES BANK THEATRE
222 Putnam Street
Marietta, OH, 45750