When: Fri., Jan. 17, 8 p.m. 2014
Shemekia Copeland is usually considered a blues singer—in an onstage ceremony at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival, Koko Taylor’s daughter bestowed her late mother’s tiara on Copeland and proclaimed her the new Queen of the Blues. But while Copeland can deliver window-rattling blues throwdowns, she’s also a versatile roots-music stylist. Her latest CD, 2012’s 33 1/3 (Telarc), showcases both her range and her depth. On the hard-pounding rocker “Lemon Pie,” she denounces socioeconomic injustice with the flair and venom of a juke-joint Nina Simone; on Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” she breaks out of her usual persona to play the seductress, firing up even baby-girl entreaties with her customary brio; on the ironically up-tempo “One More Time” she delivers a death threat with irony-toughened humor that recalls her late father, Texas bluesman Johnny “Clyde” Copeland. Perhaps most impressive is the harrowing “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Tattoo,” a heart-of-darkness vignette of abuse, treachery, and doomed erotic infatuation—her voice sounds simultaneously fraught with desperation and girded with steel. —David Whiteis Copeland also plays Sat 1/18. The Lucky 3 Blues Band opens.