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Hail to the Queen: "Queen of the Blues" Shemekia Copeland, March 28 at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 06:00

Shemekia CopelandAs the daughter of the late, Grammy Award-winning blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, and herself the winner of six Blues Music Awards, it would be safe to describe 34-year-old vocalist Shemekia Copeland as blues-music royalty. In 2012, during a performance at the Chicago Blues Festival, she even became royalty (of a sort), when Copeland was presented with Koko Taylor’s tiara and officially proclaimed “Queen of the Blues” by the City of Chicago.

So when you see the track listings for Copeland’s most recent CD – 2012’s 33 1/3 – and notice that they include covers of Randy Weeks’ country hit “Can’t Let Go,” Bob Dylan’s folk hit “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight,” and Sam Cooke’s R&B hit “Ain’t That Good News,” you might think the album was designed as the singer’s chance to, at least momentarily, escape the blues. Copeland, however, would respectfully disagree.

“I never want to get away from the blues,” she says during our recent phone interview promoting her March 28 performance at St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center. “That’s not what I’m trying to do. I’m a blues singer and proud. Extremely proud. But I just feel that blues is ... . Blues is the root of everything. I mean, what is country but blues with a twang? What is rock ’n’ roll but blues with loud guitars?

A Jackhammer, Better with a Gentle Touch: Blake Selby, “Ammunition”; March 22 at The Clubhouse PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 16:24

Blake Selby understands that he’s already at a disadvantage.

“Look, there are a few facts,” he said in a phone interview this week. “Number one, I’m white and I’m in the rap game. ... I’m already fighting an uphill battle. ... The other thing is that I’m not from the streets. I never claim to be; I never pretend to be in my raps. ... This is kind of my way of fighting back.”

“This” is his first full-length album, Ammunition. The Quad Cities-based hip-hop artist (who also owns Quad Cities Fitness in Bettendorf) has a record-release show Saturday at The Clubhouse in Bettendorf, and the album and show represent his musical introduction to his new community.

As the name suggests, it’s no clammy handshake. The 16-track album is loaded with aggressive, surgical-jackhammer rapping. It features the Chicago hip-hop artist Twista and singer Sam Kay on “Never Let Go.” It brings along the Quad Cities metal outfit 3 Years Hollow on “Monsta.” And its straightforward production (by The Chemist) mainlines the hooks.

A Fine “Line” Over Rough Spots: The QC Symphony, March 8 at the Adler Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Frederick Morden   
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 08:04

The Quad City Symphony’s March 8 concert featured symphonies from a pair of big names, but the shortest piece on the program – the world premiere of local composer Jacob Bancks’ Rock Island Line – stole the show.

The broad, moving lyricism of Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 illustrated what the orchestra does well, while Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 revealed the Quad City Symphony’s continuing struggle with rhythmic precision.

Yet they were eclipsed by the triumphant debut that opened the concert. Rock Island Line was the highlight of the evening at the Adler Theatre – an energized, complex, and entertaining performance that brought Bancks’ vivid piece to life in ways I wasn’t expecting.

Photos from the L.A. Guns Concert, March 7 at Rascals Live PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 05:26

Photos from the L.A. Guns concert at Rascals Live on March 7, 2014, with opener Halo of Flies. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

L.A. Guns:

Photo by Matt Erickson,

Photos from the Ballroom Thieves Concert, March 5 at the Redstone Room PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Monday, 10 March 2014 11:12

Photos from the Ballrom Thieves concert at the Redstone Room on March 5, 2014. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit

Photo by Matt Erickson,

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