Shemekia Copeland Premieres Video For New Song, "Clotilda's On Fire"
On Monday, October 5, multi-Grammy Award nominee Shemekia Copeland premieres her video for Clotilda's On Fire. The true, torn-from-history song -- the lead track from her highly anticipated new album, Uncivil War, set for October 23 release -- tells of the very last slave ship to arrive in America (in Mobile Bay, Alabama) in 1859, 50 years after the slave trade was banned. The ship—burned and sunk by the captain to destroy the evidence—was finally discovered in 2019. The song—featuring Alabama native Jason Isbell playing ferocious blues guitar—is a hair-raising look at living American history delivered with power, tenderness, and jaw-dropping intensity. The video, put together by Copeland and her team, underlines the undying legacy of racism that has sparked protests around the world.
Watch the video here:
Clotilda's On Fire will also be available to stream on all the major streaming services beginning October 5.
Uncivil War—recorded in Nashville with award-winning producer and musician Will Kimbrough at the helm—is a career-defining album for Copeland. The topical title track is a courageous plea for unity in a time of disunion. With songs addressing gun violence (Apple Pie And A .45), civil rights (the Staple Singers-esque message song, Walk Until I Ride), lost friends (the Dr. John tribute Dirty Saint), bad love (Junior Parker’s In The Dark) as well as good (Love Song, by her father, legendary bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland), Uncivil War is far-reaching, soul-searching and timeless. Guests on Uncivil War include legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, Grammy-nominated young guitar star Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, rocker Webb Wilder, rock icon Duane Eddy, mandolin wizard Sam Bush, dobro master Jerry Douglas, and The Orphan Brigade providing background vocals.
Of the new album Copeland says, “I’m trying to put the ‘united’ back in the United States. Like many people, I miss the days when we treated each other better. For me, this country’s all about people with differences coming together to be part of something we all love. That’s what really makes America beautiful.”
The Chicago Tribune’s famed jazz critic Howard Reich says, “Shemekia Copeland is the greatest female blues vocalist working today. She pushes the genre forward, confronting racism, hate, xenophobia and other perils of our time. Regardless of subject matter, though, there’s no mistaking the majesty of Copeland’s instrument, nor the ferocity of her delivery. In effect, Copeland reaffirms the relevance of the blues.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer succinctly states, “Shemekia Copeland is an antidote to artifice. She is a commanding presence, a powerhouse vocalist delivering the truth.”