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Never Going Back
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For more than a decade, Shemekia Copeland has been paving a road that will inevitably lead to her reign as Queen of the Blues. By some standards, she may already be there: numerous blues awards in the U.S. and elsewhere, a GRAMMY nomination, a resume that includes work with musical titans like Dr. John and Steve Cropper and film giants like Martin Scorsese and Wim Wenders. Never Going Back captures Copeland at a crossroads on that artistic path - a place where numerous new avenues are open to her. While Copeland will always remain loyal to her blues roots, Never Going Back takes a more forward view of the blues, and in so doing points her music and her career in a new direction.
That pursuit of a new and different sound led to producer Oliver Wood, a member of the acoustic and highly organic collective known as the Wood Brothers - a combo whose ranks also include bassist Chris Wood, co-founder and ongoing member of Medeski, Martin & Wood. In addition to handling production duties, Oliver Wood also lays down guitar tracks on every one of the album's dozen tracks and even contributes backing vocals in a couple places. The sizable crew of guest musicians also includes Chris Wood, keyboardist John Medeski and guitarist Marc Ribot.
Top customer reviews
As far as I'm concerned this has some of the best blues songs I've heard. I especially enjoyed "Sounds Like the Devil", "Dirty Water" as well as "Never Going Back to Memphis". Shemekia's soulful and smoky voice paints fascinating pictures in these songs. These are Blues with an up-tempo rhythm.
The other thing I loved is the instruments behind her. You feel like you are in a small room with just her and a few great blues instrumentalists. I don't quite know how to say it except that the sound is "clean" without a lot of processing. In a way it reminds me of the old Sun studio sound - but of course a different venue and better recording capabilities.
The middle tracks run a bit more down-tempo and have a jazz/blues type sound. They aren't my favorites - But they make for a good ride through the CD.