Feature Artist: Alabama Shakes
Blues & Soul music is something that can’t be taught, can’t be imitated. It has to be felt, and it has to be lived. Trust a group from Alabama to get it right then; it’s as if they have an unfair advantage. ALABAMA SHAKES are set to release their debut album, Boys & Girls, in April this year, and they’re anything but an imitation. Pure, Southern soul escapes the lungs of lead singer, Brittany Howard, as she belts out the woes of the modern woman in a way only few can, with a gritty rock delivery. I feel like she and Etta James would have been friends.
From humble beginnings at a high school in Athens, Alabama, the ALABAMA SHAKES have now been dubbed by NME as one of the bands to watch in 2012. The band began to grab the full attention of the listening public when asked to join a tour with Southern rock band, Drive-By Truckers, last year.
Their self-titled EP is headlined by feature track ‘Hold On’, a buoyant yet aching track that can only be described as a hybrid of blues and alt-rock. It breathes the kind of nostalgia that takes you back 50 years; only with the kind of modernity that says you can bring your iPod.
The soulful grit of the EP can only promise good things for their upcoming album, aptly recorded in Nashville and produced and mixed by the crew themselves. Not ones for sugar coating, they promise an album of “swampy, dirty South rock, blues, and soul delivered with a punk rock fervour”. I’m predicting best enjoyed at sunset on the front porch, head back, eyes closed, whisky in hand.
At just 23, Howard’s yearning, powerful rasp has been compared to the likes of Janis Joplin, while the band’s unruly live show has demanded the attention and won the hearts of audiences throughout the U.S.
Check out Howard’s gripping stage presence in a live performance of the gut-wrenching ‘You Ain’t Alone’.
The future certainly looks bright for Alabama’s best now un-kept secret. They’re set to make their first TV appearance on Conan tomorrow, followed by the album release on April 9. In the words of the ALABAMA SHAKES themselves, “This is just the beginning of the electric Indian light show. Prepare your eyelids. Tape them open so your eyes believe. Prepare your earholes, because we will be coming for them brains.” Now there’s a promise of things to come.
Stalk them on Facebook HERE.
Words by Kayla Clibborn.