Shakes: Rattle And Soul
You will hear a lot about the Alabama Shakes this year. Listeners to my radio show will already know the tremendous 'Hold On' track from the February playlists. Throbbing soul with a gut-bucket dynamic. Rightfully grabbing the attention of the Twitter collective at the sxsw festival in Austin, a chorus of enthused souls, all shook up.
I saw them twice in one day. Once on the Radio Stage of the Convention Center, which was a little polite, but still edging towards awesome. Brittany Howard doesn't look particularly rock and roll. In another context, she might be about to give you a hefty fine for your overdue library books. So she scowls a bit, but then Brittany starts to sing, her voice roaring over the registers like Otis, Aretha, maybe even Janis. Blimey.
Meantime the band fits into that loose-but-supple rhythm that seems to be the birthright of southern rock bands. Robbie Robertson used to say that you knew you were in the American South because the audience clapped on the off-beat. Ergo, the Alabama Shakes.
Later I was outside in the balmy evening at Stubb's Bar-B-Q on Red River where the scheme was even more apparent. Brittany can move and swing those vocals to enhance the mood. Just imagine what it will be like when the multitudes are embracing the words and carrying the songs. Which is why their upcoming album, 'Boys And Girls', will be your dearest friend, why no decent music fan will remain unstirred.