"You better step aside, I'm a woman on a mission," declares the daughter of the late blues guitar great Johnny Copeland
, as she kicks off her fourth album in typically feisty form. Aided by a stellar cast of rootsy pros led by producer/guitarist Steve Cropper
and including Chuck Leavell
on piano, Felix Cavaliere
on organ, ex-Zappa drummer Chester Thompson, and saxman Jim Horn, Shemekia delivers the soul, funk, and swamp-rock goods. Disappointed with the lack of gutsy music on the radio ("Who Stole My Radio?"), she aims to rectify that situation with a dozen slabs of tough, tight, barnstorming R&B that she energizes with her sassy attitude and grits-'n-gravy voice.
Meshing the sweat of Memphis with the pleading, deep-fried sizzle of Muscle Shoals in its prime, the songs on The Soul Truth
shift from bluesy, testifying ballads ("Strong Enough") to horn-infused steamy funkers ("Better Not Touch") to late-night gospel ballads (Dobie Gray
swings in to duet on "Used") with the effortless, down-home intensity of Otis Redding. You won't find her on MTV or in the top 40, but for those who reject the plastic, Pro Tools-sculpted pop and slick cookie-cutter music that dominates the airwaves, Shemekia Copeland speaks the "soul truth." --Hal Horowitz
Produced by renowned Stax guitarist Steve Cropper (who also adds his stellar guitar playing to the CD), the album is steeped in the spirit of classic Memphis soul but, at the same time, is a contemporary and up-to-the-minute slice of life. Featuring Shemekia's powerful, emotional vocals over a blistering band with horns punching in all the right places, The Soul Truth is a tour-de-force of rock, soul and blues. From the funk and fervor of 'Breakin' Out' to the timely question of 'Who Stole My Radio?' to the rock-powered 'Givin' Up You', The Soul Truth tells it like it is, with deep emotion, forceful beats and music that is satisfying, original and memorable. Alligator. 2005.