Shemekia Copeland

With vocal power and emotional projection that belie her 24 years, Copeland is a brassy blues shouter in the tradition of Ruth, Etta and Koko. But those influences are a starting point -- and not a boundary -- for the daughter of late Houston bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland. This dynamo grabs you by the hair on her sophomore record, the Grammy-nominated Wicked (Alligator). And while vocal tours de force like "Wild, Wild Woman" and "Steamy Windows" ooze with a smoldering sexual chemistry, it's on the slower, more fragile and pleading material like "The Fool You're Looking For" and "Love Scene" ("I'm ready for my love scene / I'm looking for a leading man") that her subtler gifts shine.

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