Legendary Stax guitarist/songwriter/producer Steve Cropper produced Copeland’s THE SOUL TRUTH, flavoring the recording with solid doses of Memphis soul and punching horns. FLASH FORWARD is the first studio album from The Siegel-Schwall Band in 30 years.


Shemekia Copeland’s THE SOUL TRUTH is the funkiest, deepest, and most exciting statement yet from the woman CNN calls, “a legend in the making.” “Billboard” agrees, saying Shemekia has “extraordinary talent, Copeland is a vocalist who knows few stylistic limitations. She’s a true blues diva.” The album is musically steeped in the spirit of classic Memphis soul but is lyrically up-to-the-minute, 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.


Born in Harlem, New York in 1979, Shemekia came to her singing career slowly. Her father, the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, recognized his daughter’s talent early on. He even brought her on stage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. At that time Shemekia’s embarrassment outweighed her desire to sing. But when she was 15 and her father’s health began to slow him down, she received the calling. “It was like a switch went off in my head,” recalls Shemekia, “and I wanted to sing. It became a want and a need. I had to do it.” Within a year she was touring with her father.


Shemekia stepped out of her father’s shadow in 1998 when Alligator released TURN THE HEAT UP to massive popular and critical acclaim, with rave reviews running in newspapers and magazine across the country. In 2000 she returned with WICKED, then followed that with her Dr. John-produced release, TALKING TO STRANGERS in 2002. On the strength of these recordings, Copeland has appeared twice on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and also performed on National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition” and the “CBS Saturday Early Show.” She’s appeared on “Austin City Limits and the “Late Show With David Letterman” (along with B.B. King), was featured in the Martin Scorsese-produced concert film “Lightning In A Bottle,” the PBS television series “The Blues” and even opened a show for the Rolling Stones in Chicago. She’s toured the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.


With the powerful and radio-friendly songs on THE SOUL TRUTH and continued non-stop touring, Shemekia will continue to reach fans across all musical genres. Throughout CD, Shemekia Copeland delivers music for both seasoned blues and soul lovers and new fans. “I want people who love hip-hop to know where it came from,” she told “Vibe” magazine. “My music is rooted in blues, but it’s different. I’m singing about my era. I’m here and I’m singing about now and not yesterday.”




It’s been over 40 years since harmonicist/pianist/vocalist Corky Siegel and guitarist/vocalist Jim Schwall met and formed The Siegel-Schwall Band, one of Chicago’s most beloved blues groups. From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, The Siegel-Schwall Band recorded ten critically acclaimed albums, performed constantly, and shared stages with artists such as The Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane. Their subtle, acoustic-flavored blues, original songs and inventive interpretations of classics by Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon and other blues greats were their calling card, fusing urban blues and folk into their own unique sound. In addition to their recordings, the band was renowned for their high energy, good-time live shows. In 1968, they defied boundaries by combining blues and classical music with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and established themselves as one of the most adventurous blues bands around.


In  1987 the group reunited and released the joyous THE SIEGEL-SCHWALL REUNION CONCERT on Alligator Records, with fans and critics alike heralding their return. FLASH FORWARD, The Siegel-Schwall Band’s new CD, and their first full album of new material in 30 years, picks up right where they left off, featuring their signature brand of fun-loving blues. Their “extended vacation” from recording (as founding member Corky Siegel calls it) has brought a new sense of inspiration to their music.


In addition to founders Siegel and Schwall, the band includes longtime bassist Rollo Radford, who has performed and/or recorded with music legends such as Dinah Washington, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Sun Ra, and legendary blues drummer Sam Lay, whose lengthy resume includes stints with Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, and Ray Charles. Sam was also a member of the original Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and backed Bob Dylan during his first electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. He also played on Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” album.


Corky Siegel and Jim Schwall met in Chicago in 1964 while both were in the Roosevelt University Jazz Band. The pair soon discovered their mutual love for the blues and eventually began performing as a duo, with Corky on harmonica and piano and Jim on guitar. They played every Thursday night at Chicago’s Pepper’s Lounge, often jamming with blues luminaries including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells and James Cotton.


In 1965, Vanguard Records signed the band to a deal, releasing “The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band” in 1966. That same year, Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa, who frequented Siegel-Schwall’s gigs, approached the band. “Ozawa wanted my band to jam with his band, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” Corky relates. Sure enough, the first jam took place in 1968, when Siegel-Schwall and the Chicago Symphony played William Russo’s “Three Pieces For Blues Band And Symphony Orchestra,” and it was a smash success.


Between 1967 and 1974, the group performed at the Fillmore West in San Francisco and scores of clubs and festivals, and played an important part in the era’s blues revival movement while gaining new fans along the way. The band signed to RCA-Wooden Nickel in 1971, releasing five albums on the label before splitting up in 1974.


Based on the success of 1988’s THE SIEGEL-SCHWALL REUNION CONCERT show and album, The Siegel-Schwall Band decided to join forces once again. Since then, The Siegel-Schwall Band has continued to play a number of live dates, including a triumphant appearance at the 2004 San Francisco Blues Festival.


With the release of their new CD FLASH FORWARD, The Siegel-Schwall Band leaves no doubt that their “extended vacation” is over, and they are ready to add another chapter to their impressive musical story. It’s the welcome return to recording of a beloved blues band that continues to inspire music fans everywhere.