Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes
Brittany Howard has one of those voices that could persuade a person to do anything. It's a voice that countless other Southern soul singers have possessed, infused with faith in a higher power and consequently, faith in humanity. Formed just two years ago in tiny Athens, AB, the quartet have quickly risen, thanks in large part to Howard's undeniable natural talent. Although a classic shouter, nothing about her delivery is forced. The same goes for the feeling she has leading the group. Like every great soul singer, Howard has trademark phrases, and the several occasions where she drops a slurred "sweet baby" are heart melting. The rawness of the band puts them in a different category than other soul revivalists.

This record sounds timeless. Was it difficult to get the vibe in the studio that you wanted?
Drummer Steve Johnson: No, it all came very naturally. We had a good idea of how we wanted the songs to sound before entering the studio. At times, it could become frustrating listening to playbacks over and over again, but it's situations like those that bring you closer together as a band.

Are you churchgoing people? There's a gospel influence that clearly sets the band apart.
I can't speak for everyone, but I was definitely raised in church. I think the strongest comparison between our music and gospel is the emotion and uplifting sense you get from hearing it.

What's it been like having to adjust so quickly to the Shakes being a full-time job?
I try to treat it like any other job when we're on the road: wake up early, get a good meal in, do some stretching, then go play a show and head to the hotel and get a good night's sleep. I think we all enjoy the opportunity to see new places and try new foods, but it's nice to have a place to come home to.

Read a review of Boys & Girls here.