If you are looking for a soul infused rock band, look no further than Alabama Shakes. This Athens based band started out as many bands do, as a group of friends (Brittany Howard on guitar and lead vocals, Zac Cockrell on bass guitar, Heath Fogg on guitar and backing vocals, and Steve Johnson on drums and percussion and backing vocals) playing in a garage, jamming to their heart’s content. There are several differences between a typical garage rock band and Alabama Shakes. Aside from being successful, instead of using only the typical rock influences, the band stood out with its mid-20th century fused rock. In addition to this, unlike many male dominated rock bands who will often use female vocalists as a mix of sex objects and primary draw, Howard isn’t a wilting flower lead vocalist that you hear when they perform; she can dish out the soul as well as provide an incredible show. When mixed with vocal Brittany Howard’s voice, critics have compared Alabama Shakes’s music to Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, and even soul legend Otis Redding. However, just like any other band, Alabama Shakes had to pay their dues, playing at sports bars and country dives before being discovered and getting on a recording label. During one of these many performances, a fan snapped a picture of Brittany Howard and after seeing it online, SiriusXM host and music blogger Justin Gage added "You Ain't Alone” to his blog, Aquarium Drunkard, after getting permission from the band. By the next morning, Alabama Shakes had several record labels clambering for their act. In addition to this, Gage contacted the lead singer of the Drive-By Truckers, Patterson Hood, who after attending one of their shows set them up with his managers Christine Stauder and Kevin Morris. Shortly thereafter, Alabama Shakes released their first EP, titled Alabama Shakes. Alabama Shakes launched the band into the spotlight, where their first media attention came from NPR and an invitation to participate in CMJ Music Marathon Industry Showcase in New York. At this point they started to negotiate a recording deal with ATO Records and opening for Drive-By Truckers.
In 2012, their first full-length album release Boys & Girls debuted in the number 16 slot on the national release charts, but then started to climb after physical copies began to get sold. During this time, the band began to tour Europe and later came home to open up for Jack White on several of his shows. Their first single “Hold on” was dubbed Rolling Stone’s Song of the Year. By the time March 2013 rolled around, Boys & Girls was a certified gold album.
Alabama Shakes Sound & Color & Tour
In late 2013, Alabama Shakes began recording their second album, Sound & Color, releasing it in April of 2015. Sound & Color debuted on top of the Billboard Top 200 and they announced their tour shortly thereafter. Featuring a mix of both their first and second albums, this is a band you don’t want to miss. They are only in the North America until October 3, with shows in various locations including New York, Ottawa and Toronto, Canada, Montreal, Quebec, and Massachusetts.