Friday Night Rock & Soul: Alabama Shakes

We are less than 5 full months into the calendar year, and I already have a leading contender for my favorite album of 2012: Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls.

I stumbled across them on a session broadcast from KRCW KCRW. The music was raw and powerful, and I was excited at the prospect of their first album. It doesn’t disappoint. This killer debut album (referenced earlier in a PM reads) is a mix of roots rock, country blues, soul and gospel. It has a decidedly retro flavor to it, but at the same time is fresh and original. The song writing is powerful, the band tight, and they sound as if they really light it up on stage (Videos after the jump).

Alabama Shakes was formed in Athens, Alabama in 2009. Lead singer Brittany Howard has a powerful voice, full of soul and fire. Another reviewer called ner the love child of Otis Redding and Janis Joplin, and there is something to that. A potent power trio — Guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, and drummer Steve Johnson — are behind her. In their live shows, the band covers James Brown to Otis Redding, as well Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. That eclectic taste informs their original recordings.


The Alabama Shakes’ first album, “Boys & Girls,” is an electric jolt that anyone who loves blues-based rock music should track down immediately. Consisting of three men and one young explosion named Brittany Howard on vocals and guitar, the group, which formed in northern Alabama in 2009, offers stripped down truth, minus any affectation, histrionics or irony.



Band site

Videos after the jump

Alabama Shakes performing “You Ain’t Alone” on September 10th, 2011. Directed by Joshua Shoemaker ©. Filmed in Chattanooga, TN @Track 29.

You Ain’t Alone

“Hold On” at Pegasus Record in Florence, Alabama for “Live from the Shoals” on August 21, 2011

“I Found You” at Pegasus Record in Florence, Alabama for “Live from the Shoals” on August 21, 2011

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