American Strings - An Evening with Shemekia Copeland

An Evening with Shemekia Copeland

The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts (CLA) presents a conversation and live remote performance with the award-winning blues artist Shemekia Copeland on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. PST.

The webcast event is part of CLA’s American String Series. Hosted by OSU Director of Popular Music and Performing Arts Bob Santelli, each segment of American Strings is comprised of a conversation and solo performance by successful artists from a variety of genres, making for a one of a kind opportunity to appreciate and know better the great American music tradition.

With a recording career that began in 1998 when she was just 18 years old, Shemekia Copeland has earned praise as the "greatest female blues vocalist working today" (Chicago Tribune). The soul, lyrically adventurous vocalist sings songs about the world around her, tackling the problems of contemporary American life head on with nuance, understanding, and a demand for change.

A three-time Grammy Award nominee, Copeland has performed all over the world, has appeared in films, on national television, radio and in print media. She has sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, John Prine, Dr. John, and more. In 2012, she performed with B.B. King, Mich Jagger, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark, Jr., and others at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. She has appeared on Austin City Limits, and was recently featured on the PBS News Hour. She also hosts her own popular daily blues radio show on SiriusXM's, "Bluesville."

Her riveting latest album, "Uncivil War," builds on the musically and lyrically adventurous territory she's been exploring for more than a decade, blending blues, R&B and Americana into a sound that is now hers alone.

Free and open to all.

Register for the event

About the host

Bob Santelli served as the executive director of the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles from 2008 to 2016, and was instrumental in helping OSU become an official university affiliate of the Los Angeles-based museum. He is currently the director of popular music and performing arts in the College of Liberal Arts.  

A noted blues and rock historian, Santelli is the author of more than a dozen books on American music, including “Greetings from E Street” and "The Bob Dylan Scrapbook.” He has contributed to Rolling Stone and the New York Times, among other news outlets.  In 1993, he was one of the original curators of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, eventually moving to Cleveland to become the museum’s first director of education and vice president of public programs. 

In 2000, he became the chief executive officer of the Experience Music Project in Seattle, the first interactive music museum. Santelli also developed the UK’s first pop music museum, the British Music Experience. Named executive of The GRAMMY Museum in 2006, he created “An Evening With…” series that featured in-depth interviews with artists such as Dave Matthews, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Nicks and Clive Davis. 

Since arriving at OSU in September 2016, Santelli has brought a group of students to the White House for a special music education program, created programs for songwriters across campus and in the community, taught classes on popular culture, and maintained a partnership with the GRAMMY Museum. 

2020-2021 Season - Past Events

The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Oregon State University Alumni Association presented a conversation and live remote performance with blues artist and five-time GRAMMY Award winner Keb’ Mo’ on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m.

Singer, guitarist, songwriter, Kevin Roosevelt Moore, known professionally as Keb’ Mo’, has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through his albums, live performances and collaborations with other successful artists, including Taj Mahal, Shelia E., Joe Walsh, Lizz Wright and Bonnie Raitt. Since releasing his self-titled first album more than 25 years ago, the Nashville-based artist has published a total of 14 highly successful albums, including his most recent, “Oklahoma,” which won the 2020 GRAMMY Award for Best Americana Album, giving Keb’ Mo’ his fifth GRAMMY.

He has been featured in TV and film, playing Robert Johnson in the 1998 documentary “Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl,” and appearing three times on the television series, “Touched by An Angel.” He was the ghostly bluesman “Possum” in John Sayles’ 2007 movie, “Honeydripper,” and created “Martha’s Theme” for the TV show Martha Stewart Living. He also wrote and performed the theme song for the hit sitcom, “Mike & Molly,” and was music composer for TNT’s “Memphis Beat.” In early 2017, nine songs from Keb’ Mo’s extensive catalog were featured in the film “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Higher Ground” on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel. This film was also Keb’s first feature film lead acting role. 

He also appeared in an episode on the CMT series “Sun Records” and can be heard playing his original song “Operator.” Keb’ Mo’ played his iconic version of “America the Beautiful” in the series finale of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” as well as at the White House for President Obama.

The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Oregon State University Alumni Association presented a conversation and live remote performance with Rosanne Cash on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Cash, eldest daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash, is one of the country’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters, with 15 albums, 11 GRAMMY nominations and four GRAMMY awards to her credit, along with 21 top 40 hits, including 11 number one singles. 

Cash is also an author of four books, including the best-selling memoir, “Composed,” hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” She has published essays in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Nation and Oxford-American. 

She was awarded a SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement award in 2012 and received the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts in 2014. She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2015 and was awarded the Spirit of Americana: Free Speech Award by the Americana Music Association in 2018. She served as a Carnegie Hall Creative Partner for the 2019-2020 season.

With her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting, Sarah Jarosz has emerged as one of the most compelling musicians of her generation. Originally from Texas, Jarosz began singing as a young girl and became an accomplished multi-instrumentalist by her early teens. After releasing her full-length debut "Song Up in Her Head" at the age of 18, she went on to deliver such critically lauded albums as "Follow Me Down, Build Me Up From Bones" and "Undercurrent," in addition to joining forces with Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan to form the acclaimed GRAMMY-winning fold trio, I'm With Her. 

In making her newest album "World On the Ground" Jarosz collaborated with producer/songwriter John Leventhal, a five-time GRAMMY award winner known for his work with Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin and his wife, Rosanne Cash. Working almost entirely on their own, the two musicians crafted a subtle tapestry of sound perfectly suited to Jarosz's Lyrical storytelling. In a departure from the nuanced introspection of her previous work, "World On the Ground" unfolds as a finely wrought collection of stories from her hometown of Wimberley, Texas (pop. 2,626), presenting a series of character sketches nearly novelistic in emotional scope, and revealing her remarkable gift for slipping into the inner lives of others and patiently uncovering so much indelible insight.

Alvin co-founded the roots-rock group The Blasters in 1979, and since leaving the band in 1986, the guitarist has created his own unique blend of traditional American music. His 2000 solo album “Public Domain: Songs from the Wild Land” earned him a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Alvin calls himself a “barroom guitarist” and says his songs are like California: “A big, messy, melting pot.”

He has recorded with Bobby Rush, Tom Waits, John Mellencamp, Little Milton and The Knitters, and his original songs have been recorded by Los Lobos, Dwight Yoakam, James McMurtry, Buckwheat Zydeco, Joe Ely and Marshall Crenshaw. His music has also been featured in movies and television including on “The Sopranos,” “Justified,” “Girls,” “Crybaby,” “Dusk to Dawn,” “The Wire” and “True Blood.”

Alvin’s recent projects include reuniting with his brother Phil for two blues albums, including the Grammy-nominated album “Common Ground,” a reunion with his 1977 punk band, The Flesh Eaters, and a new band, The Third Mind, made up of Alvin, Victor Krummenacher (Camper von Beethoven), David Immerglück (Counting Crows) and Jesse Sykes (Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter.) On Nov. 20 he released an album of rare and unreleased recordings titled “From an Old Guitar.”

Dom Flemons is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, music scholar, historian and record collector. As part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he won a Grammy Award in 2010 for their folk album “Genuine Negro Jig.” His 2018 Grammy Award-nominated album “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys” explored the often overlooked history and folk music traditions of Black cowboys in the West, which he says reflect some of his own family’s legacy.

He also has received two Emmy Award nominations. In 2020 he was selected for the prestigious United States Artists Fellowship Award for the traditional arts category, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

With a repertoire covering more than 100 years of early American popular music, Flemons has earned the moniker “The American Songster.” He is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife and rhythm bones.

His latest project, “Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus on Omnivore Recordings,” features the original “Prospect Hill” album, the 2015 EP “What Got Over,” and “The Drum Major Instinct,” complete with 12 previously unissued instrumental tracks.

Close up detailed view of an electric guitar