Music — December 9, 2011 12:36 — 2 Comments

The Alabama Shakes

By now, even subgenres of music have subgenres. The disappearance of a mainstream relevant to many listeners’ tastes necessitates this, I suppose, but who can keep track? So it comes as a relief when someone can say something simple about the music they make: “People misunderstand the word ‘Soul’ and think it’s just a genre of music, but it’s a feeling. When you pour every ounce of feeling into your music, that’s soul music.” That’s drummer Steve Johnson of the Alabama Shakes getting to the point. One could attempt to categorize this band in wordier, pseudo-ethnomusicological terms, but it would be foolishness. One thing can be said without risk of argument: the music they make is quintessentially American. Singer Brittany Howard’s voice may be reminiscent of Sam Cooke or Janis Joplin at moments, but is entirely her own. One has merely to watch her sing “You Ain’t Alone” to understand: They’ll be playing Seattle’s Crocodile Cafe January 31st. Their four song EP is available for download at


-Caleb Thompson



  1. RT says:

    Well, as my daddy said of Bobbi Gentry, “That girl’s got impact.”

  2. Dom says:

    got my tickets for the 31st. Thanks for turning me on to this!

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney