Outskirts of Love

With Outskirts of Love, the seventh album of her career, Shemekia Copeland—the daughter of the late Johnny “The Texas Twister” Copeland—continues to forge the path she began 20 years ago when, at the age of 16, she joined her father's band. Tough times abound in this powerhouse collection of songs. The title track describes a woman at a bus stop “in a wedding gown carrying a suitcase bound up with string/it was all she had after pawning her wedding ring.” “Cardboard Box” deals with homelessness. On “Devil's Hand,” written by her father, she tells of playing cards with the devil: “Don't you know you're playing a losing hand?” “Drivin' Out of Nashville” (“with a body in the trunk”) is a bouncy tale of retribution. But there is hope as evidenced by Jessie Mae Hemphill's “Lord, Help the Poor and Needy.” Among her guests is Billy Gibbons, who joins her for the ZZ Top hit “Jesus Just Left Chicago.”