Alabama Shakes - All the Buzz Without the Hype
Four months ago, the Alabama Shakes were gigging in their stomping grounds of Athens, Alabama just trying to bring a little attention to a newly released soul-soaked EP on Bandcamp. A few simple YouTube videos were made of a live performance at a small record store. Before you know it, the word and videos began to spread virally as several forward-thinking indie music blogs picked up on the grass-roots appeal of Alabama Shakes' earthy, down-to-earth personna. The raw rockin' R&B underpinnings of the band shone through to a promising future.
Without a manager, record label or indie PR firm, the band played a spattering of CMJ showcases in New York last October that stoked the awareness fires to a fever pitch. Yes, the Alabama Shakes are the real deal. A lot of buzz, but no hype. Why? Just listen to Britney Howard's gutsy vocals and the sweet rythmic guitar stylings of this four piece band. We knew something was up when the tickets for their two upcoming Chicago club shows sold-out weeks in advance. Besides the well attended American tour, the Alabama Shakes have signed with ATO Records and are heading to Europe for the first time. Nothing like cheering for the underdogs!
We first caught wind of the well entrenched retro soul revival in March, 2010 when Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings exploded on the stage at Stubbs in Austin, Texas during SXSW. Then the onslaught of R&B tinged indie bands flooded the blogoshpere. From Kings Go Forth to JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, the funky soul time warp was a nice diversion from the ever present lo-fi and indie-folk landscape. Sometimes pre-packaged bands entered the mix trying to capitalize on a trend and sucking the life out of the burgeoning movement. Alabama Shakes keep the torch burning with a fresh, organic take on soul and blues roots that they truly take to heart.