Thursday, May 17, 2012

What's Shakin', Alabama?

I'm late to the party, but my latest obsession is the music of the band Alabama Shakes. Fronted by the powerhouse voice of Brittany Howard and backed by a sometimes-bluesy/sometimes-rockin' foursome, they really can rock the house ... namely, mine.

It's one of those things that takes a few listens to grow on ya. The first tune that caught my ear was the catchy Hang Loose with its groovy guitar riff. But this is the genius: hook you with a catchy tune; and, the more you listen to album's other tracks, the more the band grows on you. (I think Hold On serves this purpose also.) Next thing you know, you're a fan.

But here's the part I that really turns me on: when you see an artist really get into their art. You feel it. You feel it that they're feeling it. They feel it that you're feeling it. It takes off. It's magical. That's soul.

That's what happens when I watch Alabama Shakes. And I haven't even seen them live. The last time they came through town a few months ago, I was unfamiliar with them. I won't miss them the next time they come to town. I'll be there and I'll be there early. I want to hear Ms. Howard's voice on full-blast.

Lastly, this is Rock-and-Roll spirit at its core. There's a chance you won't like it as much as me, but you can't deny this: despite the appearance of the group, this is true music. It's not about some lanky-legged, blonde starlet who can sing well, but feel nothing. I'd take a heartfelt, emotional performance over an autotuned dance-track vocal track any day. I'm looking at you Carrie Underwood and Nicki Minaj.

Enjoy these couple of tracks I dug up on YouTube. The first is the catchy Hang Loose and the second is the rockin' Heavy Chevy recorded at the Bing theater in Portland, Oregon -- the same theater where we saw Jackie Greene last year. Stay tuned on Heavy Chevy -- the end is totally raucous!

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