I am sometimes deemed a trendsetter by my friends but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an early adopter. What i mean is that I am not the one that is always touting the newest trend or fad. I mean yes I have already listened an am top of the new National Album, but no, I am not going to start listening to some type of musical crap that sounds like transformers transforming because it is the “it” thing. I put this affidavit in because I would like people to know that sometimes music that has come out years ago may be new to me. But just because it isn’t the “freshest” doesn’t mean that it isn’t the absolute best. Today I am of talking about the band The Alabama Shakes and their release Boys and Girls.
Hailing from Athens Alabama, the Alabama Shakes are a band consisting of the classic rock set up; Two guitars, a drummer, and bassist. But what separates them from the traditional American Rock sound is the crooning soulful burnt voice of their lead singer Brittany Howard. Her voice, reminiscent of the old blues crooners of the past, she follows a trend of strong and soulful female artists that have entered the stage. Similar to Sharon Jones, Jonelle Monae, and Eykah Badu her songs are full of earnestness and sincerity with a hard edge. She reminds me of a Memphis gone by that was full of old men and women who lost everything and didn’t want to gain it back, but tell their story in music form. Love, loss, pain, hardship, happiness, family, friends, everything about life summed up in hard three chord fast swinging songs. The Alabama Shakes have strong blues, Americana, folk, Jazz and rock influences and have brought them together into a great piece of American music.
I first heard the Alabama Shakes on Saturday Night Live. I had pry heard them prior to their SNL appearance, but i am a visual learner so it didn’t register until that night. Watching there performance was one of many eye opening experiences I have had with music. Similar to Nathaniel Rateliff, when Brittany released her waling voice I couldn’t tear myself away. It spoke to my soul and made me forget about everything else going on in that exact moment. All I could think of was everything I love about music. It was a moment for me where I was like “F yeah! I am enlightened, the universe makes sense, I feel alive and free. I have no connections but the connection I have with the universe through sound!”
For me music is a wide resource for my own personal growth. Some artists and albums can help me get through hard stages in my life. Some music allows me to connect to other cultures and communities that I may not be able to reach out to. But most of the time, music allows me to feel and experience things in a very unique and personal way. Few artists can move me and change my perspective on life. The Alabama Shakes accomplished that and if I could I would love to go back and insert them into my top 10 of last year. Not because I thought the album was great, but more so because it changed my life. My perspective on the universe grew and all I could think of was that I wanted to hear more. I wanted to be given that sprinkle of hope that good, soulful, earnest music still exists.
Boys and Girls is out now via ATO records.