By Angelica Sheffer
The attention, acclaim and popularity of rock and roll band Alabama Shakes has been the antithesis of any kind of artist rising to the top in a very short amount of time (note: Lana Del Rey). This good ol’ rock and roll quintet from Athens, Alabama has literally taken the music industry by storm, mysteriously selling out shows in big cities like New York and Austin with barely a full length album to boast their name with. Lead singer and rhythm guitar player Brittany Howard effortlessly exerts star power behind her signature glasses and Harmony Rocket cherry red guitar, with a voice that has been compared to all of the greats (Janis, Grace, Amy). Their debut album entitled “Boys and Girls” is the total opposite of the innocence the title may imply. Alabama Shakes can play some straight up, no nonsense, let me cut to the chase and put it plainly, rock and roll!
Their most popular song as seen on David Letterman and Late Night with Jools Holland and most importantly album opener, “Hold On” immediately grabs you with it’s opening line. “Bless my heart, bless my soul, I didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old”. The song chugs along as Howard’s sings with a voice as soulful and nonchalant as it could be. The simplicity of an old fashioned love song “I Found You” is comforting and has a doo wop feel with the band singing behind Brittany, repeating each line of the chorus after her.
Title track “Boys and Girls” makes a flawless segue into “Be Mine” starting out with waltzing guitars and a slow rhythm painting a picture as a classic doo wop song that could’ve been taken right out of a Ronettes catalogue. Just as you think you’re about to float off on a cloud of beehives, synchronized dancing moves and matching dresses, Be Mine wakes you right up with a faster pace tinged with organ and explosive ending.
Alabama Shakes’ success has been noticed by rock greats such as Jimmy Page and Jack White. The band will be opening for White at his upcoming NYC dates at the Roseland Ballroom. Most solo shows of theirs are sold out, especially in the tri state area so keep an eye out and support the band by purchasing their record!
Watch: “Hold On” live on Jools Holland