Shemekia Copeland, Rolling Stone wrote, “is a powerhouse, a superstar…she can do no wrong.” On July 13, the three-time Grammy-nominated blues singer praised by NPR, The New York Times, No Depression and a host of others, will headline North Liberty Blues & BBQ presented by Veridian Credit Union, organizers announced today.

Copeland will perform on the University of Iowa Community Credit Union stage at 9 p.m., capping a lineup of exciting live blues and blues-inspired music programmed in partnership with The Englert Theatre. Copeland will be supported by performances from Southern Culture on the Skids, Gloria Hardiman & The Monday Night All-Stars, Kevin Burt, Joe and Vicki Price, and Brian Johannesen. Entry to the festival, in Centennial Park, 1565 St. Andrews Drive, North Liberty, including live music, remains free.

“Shemekia Copeland is one of the great blues voices of our time,” writes the Chicago Tribune. “No one comes close to the sheer firepower that Copeland conjures at will.”

Copeland never holds back. Her instantly recognizable voice — capable of being sultry, assertive and roaring — delivers every song with unparalleled honesty and passion. Her wide-open vision of contemporary Americana roots and soul music showcases the evolution of a passionate artist with an up-to-the-minute musical and lyrical approach. With her recent album, America’s Child, Copeland confidently announces an electrifying new chapter in her constantly evolving story. Produced by Americana Instrumentalist of the Year winner Will Kimbrough, who also plays guitar on the album, and recorded in Nashville, the album is a courageous and fiery statement of purpose, a major step forward for the singer whose musical consciousness continues to expand as her star continues to rise.

When Copeland broke on the scene at age 18 in 1998 with her groundbreaking Alligator Records debut Turn the Heat Up; she instantly became a blues and R&B force to be reckoned with. News outlets including The New York Times and CNN praised Copeland’s talent, larger-than-life personality, and true star power.

With each subsequent release, Copeland’s music has continued to grow. From her debut through 2005’s The Soul Truth, Copeland earned eight Blues Music Awards, a host of Living Blues Awards — including the prestigious 2010 Blues Artist of the Year — and more accolades from fans, critics and fellow musicians. 2000’s Wicked received a Grammy nomination. Two highly successful releases on Telarc, including 2012’s Grammy-nominated 33 1/3, cemented her reputation as a singer who, according to NPR’s All Things Considered, “embodies the blues with her powerful vocal chops and fearless look at social issues.” 

Copeland returned to Alligator Records in 2015 with the Grammy-nominated Outskirts of Love. She won the 2017 Living Blues Readers’ Award for Female Blues Artist of The Year, the same distinction she won the year before. She also took home the 2016 Blues Music Award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year. Outskirts of Love won the BMA for Best Blues Album of the Year. MOJO said Copeland was “spectacular, stirring, sanctified and sassy.”

Shemekia Copeland has performed thousands of gigs at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the world and has appeared on national television, NPR, and in newspapers, films and magazines.

She’s sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, James Cotton and many others. She opened for The Rolling Stones and entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait. Jeff Beck calls her “amazing.” Santana says, “She’s incandescent…a diamond.” In 2012, she performed with B.B. King, Mick Jagger, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark, Jr. and others at the White House.

Now, Copeland is standing on the cusp of her greatest success. Her intensely empowering, American music is as insightful as it is fun. NPR Music says, “She brings a perfect balance of authority and understatement to each song.” No Depression adds, “When Shemekia Copeland opens her mouth, everybody pays attention. She pierces your soul. This is how you do it, and nobody does it better than Shemekia Copeland.”

North Liberty Blues & BBQ is presented by wouldn’t be possible without its wonderful community sponsors including Veridian Credit Union, UICCU, Junge Ford BMW of North Liberty, South Slope Cooperative Communications, MidWestOne Bank, Watts Group, Shive-Hattery, North Liberty Optimists, FOX Engineering, Great Western Bank, Think Iowa City, Hills Bank and Trust Company, US Bank, Hy-Vee, AW Welt Ambrisco Insurance, JM Swank, Port O Jonny, Casey’s General Store, KCRG, Locals Love us, KZIA, Little Village, North Liberty Leader, Johnson County Refuse, The Englert Theatre, Eco Care, ICAN and the City of North Liberty.