Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Although this daughter of the great Johnny Copeland had 20 years and more than half a dozen albums behind her, we didn't hear her until her impressive, socio-political America's Child two years ago.
Once again she keeps the spirit of the civil rights era and the Black Lives Matter movement alive and on Walk Until I Ride – which comes with a gospel uplift – she extends the hand to refugees and the dispossessed.
And she opens this album as she means to go on with the urgent Clotilda's On Fire which recounts the history of a slave ship (“she's gonna steal bodies to sell, has her own special place in Hell . . . and we're still living with her ghost”).
As before however, Copeland brings in mandolin, organ, folk tropes, dobro and more to create an album with a diverse musical palette.
The title track is like an aching folk-blues ballad ("same old wounds we opened before, nobody wins in this uncivil war”), Money Makes You Ugly has a raw Chicago blues/Rolling Stones setting as befits the message of fracking, the occupation of Native American lands to defend the environment and more.
The raw blues Apple Pie and A .45 addresses the gun culture and murders in America, Give God the Blues is more worthy than essential and her salute to lesbians on She Won't Wear Pink is much the same.
Copeland always has an interesting choice of covers on her albums, this time a gender shift to rescue the Stones' Under My Thumb from its misogyny and repurpose it as a song of female empowerment (just as nasty of course).
And the final track is an effortless tribute to her late father, one of the greatest of Texas blues players.
So an album of statements of support, or observations of a damaged nation.
Rock solid on those fronts and just enough musical diversity to carry it off, but it fades in places, so not quite the album the last one was.
You can hear this album on Spotify here