Alabama Shakes (Formed 2009)
Alabama Shakes is an American rock band consisting of the members lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, keyboard player Ben Tanner, and drummer Steve Johnson.
Formation: Howard and Cockrell attended the same school.
They regularly met after school to write songs together.
Johnson was working at a local record store, and the two went to meet him.
Fogg joined the band after hearing their demo.
Music Career: In 2011, they released the 4-song EP, 'Alabama Shakes'.
They signed to Rough Trade Records in the UK, and ATO Records in the US in November 2011.
Their album 'Boys & Girls' was released in April 2012.
It was awarded gold record status by the RIAA.
In 2012, they performed at Bestival, alongside the xx, and Stevie Wonder.
Alabama Shakes have topped US charts - here's how they did it.
It looks like the new chart system is benefiting a lot of people, most recently US rockers Alabama Shakes who have managed to secure the top spot with their incredible second album release 'Sound & Color'. But just how has this modest quartet spiralled to success so easily?
Alabama Shakes score their first number one album
Since their official formation in 2009, the Alabama group have impressed all who hear them. They're lovable not just for their unique and captivating roots rock sound, but also for their humble appearance; doing away with the ethos that music should be combined with image and instead opting to be just, well, themselves. So just how have this unlikely collective won over the rest of their nation so easily?
Continue reading: How Alabama Shakes Shot To Stardom: Their 7 Best Moments
The Alabama outfit (as you'd guess by their name) are celebrating their first Number One record this week after 'Sound & Color' beat all other records.
In quite a low-selling week, the rockers sold 96,000 copies of their sophomore effort to reach the top spot in the Billboard 200 chart. The reformed system counts track equivalent sales and streaming equivalent sales, though some 91,000 of Sound & Color’s sales total came from traditional physical sales.
Alabama Shakes’ debut album Boys & Girls won the group a lot of plaudits upon its release in 2012 for its classic rock sound. It peaked at Number 6 in the American charts, nearly a year after its release, due to its three Grammy nominations in 2013.
Continue reading: Alabama Shakes Rock To The Top Of The Billboard Albums Chart
Alabama Shakes' use of Blues Rock and Soul has taken the four-piece band from Athens, Alabama, to great heights in a relatively short period of time. Their sophomore effort 'Sound & Color' is a similar cocktail of Kings Of Leon licks, The Black Keys infused Blues, and classic Soul power, but there are a few extra ingredients to add a little more spice tucked away here. This certainly isn't 'Boys & Girls' MKII, indeed there's less reliance on those catchy guitar hooks this time around. While Brittany Howard's occasionally astonishing vocals are the main attraction again, there's undoubtedly a real musical progression that's been made by the rest of the band. The result is that Alabama Shakes feel far less like a Soul band trying to pass themselves off as an Indie band; they're now quite comfortable in their own skin.
Straight out of the gate, the title track has an almost hypnotic effect with its slightly syncopated drum rhythm, strings, and repeated "Sound & Color" mantra. It's not the only time where the familiar incessant guitar hooks of the previous album are entirely absent. On first listen, it's almost slightly jarring with your expectation, but it's that drumming that really shines and that's the thing that pulls you in. The shift in focus also seems unexpected considering that Blake Mills has co-produced the record. Surely a man famed for his guitar playing would choose to highlight that aspect of Alabama Shakes successful formula? Well, no; Mills is no stranger to using instruments sparingly for dramatic effect, and it really shows here.
The next few tracks seem to head back towards a more recognisable musical template for Alabama Shakes. The energetic and confrontational 'Don't Wanna Fight' gives Howard a chance to really let rip vocally, but again, behind the funky guitar line, it's those drums that catch the ear. Perhaps the stand-out of the record 'Gimme All Your Love' is the best example of Mills' expertise in deploying instruments sparingly. The guitars dramatically punctuate a late night jazz club beat that ebbs and flows into a final impressive call and response instrumental jam that's perhaps the band's finest moment committed to tape thus far. It's perhaps fitting that the acoustic 'This Feeling' follows as a respite from the aural assault that's come beforehand.
Continue reading: Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color Album Review
D'angelo & The Vanguard, Kacey Musgraves and Songhoy Blues join headliners Billy Joel and Mumford & Sons.
More additions have been announced for Bonnaroo 2015 as the June event draws ever closer. D'angelo & The Vanguard, Kacey Musgraves and Songhoy Blues join an already stellar line-up for this 10-stage bonanza, while the full late night sets are also announced.
Adding to a line-up headlined by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Billy Joel and London Grammy winners Mumford And Sons are soul collective D'angelo & The Vanguard, young country star Kacey Musgraves and Mali four-piece Songhoy Blues. As usual, the epic festival - which is set to play host to a massive 85,000 music lovers - presents one of the world's most diverse line-ups as it prepares to hit Manchester, Tennessee this summer from June 11th to 14th.
Continue reading: Bonnaroo 2015: More Thrills Added To The Summer Line-up
Coachella 2015 brings some fantastic artists - new and old - to Indio, California.
It's that time of year again as the full line-up announcement for Coachella 2015 arrives following some spectacular headliners: AC/DC, Jack White and Drake will all top the bills at the two-weekend event in April.
Well known for its diverse collection of rock, pop, electronic, hip hop and indie artists from around the world, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is yet again set to arrive at the Empire Polo Club fields in Indio, California. Kicking off with the first event from Friday April 10th - 12th, the festival will repeat the following week from April 17th - 19th.
After plenty of extensive touring already, St. Paul & The Broken Bones are set to hit the UK and Europe in Spring.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones are the latest musical knockouts to come out of Alabama with their brand of invigorating soul revival that they plan to demonstrate all across Europe in the coming months.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones hit the road next year
The seven-piece have announced a series of tour dates for March 2015, with dates spanning Germany, France, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands among others. It comes as no surprise as the band have barely stopping performing of late, with shows across the US and Europe having already taken up the bulk of their year as they continue to promote their debut album 'Half The City'.
Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and Arcade Fire bring life to New Orleans Jazz Festival 2014.
It's that time of year again where New Orleans go all out to prove they are one of the most culturally rich cities in North America with their annual two-weekend event, the New Orleans Jazz Festival.
The Jazz Festival has expanded to two long weekends since its inaugural year in 1970, meaning that more people than ever can get the chance to enjoy the fine music culture of Louisiana. The Queen of Gospel Mahalia Jackson appeared at the first event alongside renowned orchestral composer Duke Ellington, and from then on the festival has gone from strength to strength and has never once lost the spirit that has made it so loved.
Brittany Howard - Way Out West Festival - Day 1 - Gothenburg, Sweden - Thursday 8th August 2013
Hard Rock Calling 2013 did not disappoint with performances from Bruce Springsteen, Kasabian and The Jam.
In Somerset, Glastonbury was in full swing but further East a different festival drew its own thousands. Rock fans flocked to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London's Stratford to attend Hard Rock Calling: a two day festival hosting massive names in rock 'n' roll. Held in a pop-up venue at the site of the London 2012 Olympic Games Basketball venue, the festival welcomed Leicester's Kasabian, USA performer Bruce Springsteen and special guests; mod rock band, The Jam.
Bruce Springsteen Brought Down The House.
Kasabian enjoyed a successful Saturday night headlining slot, helping to christen the venue for a festival that began in 2006, with trumpet and violin-playing women and a cover of The Beatles' 'She Loves You' performed by lead singer Tom Meighan without any instrumental accompaniment. Busy bees Alabama Shakes managed to fit both festivals into the same weekend, playing Glasto on Friday then Hard Rock Calling on Sunday. Springsteen AKA The Boss certainly didn't let anyone down, according to the East London Advertiser, with the 65 year-old playing his 80s album Born In The USA in its entirety, accompanied by his E Street Band and even serenading his mother with 'Dancing in the Dark' onstage in front of 40,000 fans.
Albums of Note... Heaped with praise and riding high in the UK charts, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 15th studio album, Push the Sky Away is not only an artistic triumph but a commercial one, too. Cave’s songwriting style has mutated significantly since his early days as frontman and resident wildcard of The Birthday Party; he now resembles a particularly well-dressed bar fly and his songs are peppered with his quintessentially erudite turn of phrase.
For our reviewer, Push the Sky Away demonstrates Cave and his cohorts at their finest:“Knowing when to stop and what to leave out, when adding more will lessen the quality and having the strength of character to just cut away the surplus is most definitely driven by the ever uncompromising Cave and here it has clearly paid dividends… Push The Sky Away' has a delicacy and tenderness woven through it like a fine silken tapestry of beguiling beauty but it can still be unflinching and brutal.”
38 seasons in and SNL still hasn't got stale. But with two prime facets of entertainment; humour and music, something would have to go seriously, seriously wrong for Saturday Night Live to begin to fail. This week's show was brought to life by an incredible host, Austrian (not German) Christoph Waltz, as well as stunning performances from Alabama Shakes.
Sting, Alabama Shakes, Neil Young, Elton John Mumford & Sons and John Legend all paid tribute to Bruce Springsteen as he was named Musicares Person of the Year for 2013 at last night's pre-Grammy award show.
The event recognises a star's philanthropic work as well as their efforts as an artist, something that "The Boss" - as Springsteen has become known - can't separate. "Whatever philanthropy I've ever done usually involved playing the guitar," he said. "I was going to play the guitar anyway." In attendance were some previous honourees: Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett and Bonnie Raitt. Springsteen is a deserving honoree "because he lives his life in such an exemplary way," Raitt said before the gala. "He's committed to his art. He's a good family man. He's a real inspiration for how to give back. I couldn't fault him in any aspect of his life."
Springsteen said of receiving the award, "It's kind of a freaky experience. This is the huge Italian wedding Patti and I never had. I had one of the loveliest nights of my life ...John Legend made me sound like Gershwin. Neil Young made me sound like the Sex Pistols. What a night." He also talked about the power and magic of music, adding, "The Taliban will never win, not now or ever, by banning music and dancing. The minute you do that, you label yourself a tyrant and your cruel days are numbered."