Here is some ear candy for you. I have discovered a relatively new band on the airwaves and they sure satisfy my sweet tooth for good music. They are called Alabama Shakes, I heard their single on the radio and did some searching and the entire album is fantastic. You want something different and new then listen up. Theirs is a great update on a vintage cool sound.
Brittany Howard, guitarist and singer met bassist Zac Cockrell in a high school psychology class in Athens, Alabama. She approached Zac and asked if he wanted to try making music together. “I just knew that he played bass and that he wore shirts with cool bands on them that nobody had heard of,” she said. They then recruited their drummer Steve Johnson from their towns only music store. The trio soon became a quartet when some of the songs they were working on for a demo found its way into the hands of Heath Fogg, the band’s lead guitarist was an acquaintance in school, he played in what Howard describes as “the best band in our high school.” Fogg asked them to open a show for his band at the time, they agreed on the condition that he play with them, thus completing a perfect line up.
Their music has a familiar groove with an all new interpretation. Listening to them reminds me of some great southern fried 50’s style rock and roll. They have a rootsy/ folk sound defined with quite an edge. They cite their influences as quite varied including artists such as; David Bowie, James Brown, Otis Redding, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC, among other pop-rock and punk bands. Their embrace of this variety comes through in their music, and Brittany’s voice cuts through all of the other minutia on the radio today with ease. They actually started by doing covers of these icons in music, but soon evolved it into an original sound of their own. Its the kind of music that conjures up images of a local cruise in with all sorts of chopped vintage street rods and blown Chevy muscle cars, or of seeing the best jam at the coolest bar you know of filled with smoke and flowing with great drinks. Its the perfect, almost rockabilly, sound for having fun.
Their debut album Boys & Girls was released in april of 2012, it helped them win a Grammy the same year for best new artist. The album’s first track is their single “Hold on” which a has become very popular, reaching 17 on the us billboard singles chart. Another great song “Always Alright” was featured on the soundtrack for the film Silver Linings Playbook also in 2012. They performed both of these songs as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on February 16th of this year. It was a great performance filled with energy and soul.
If you are aching to hear something fresh you have to check out Alabama Shakes, I can assure you that their sound will be part of my summer soundtrack. And if you appreciate unique and fun music you will agree with me that Alabama Shakes is totally swell.
- Alabama Shakes Shaking Things Up Around Muscle Shoals Again (atlantablackstar.com)
- Women Who Rock – Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes (persephonemagazine.com)