Alabama Shakes
"Boys & Girls"
Release Date: April 10, 2012
Label: ATO Records
Blues/Southern Rock

My thoughts: What a gem!  I call this "music my parents would love", and I mean that in a good great way.  It is rich in blues/rock influence.  These hometown country kids were raised right in music and their knowledge and maturity shows.  Let's start with the lead singer, Brittany Howard.  I have a feeling this girl doesn't even know how good she is.  She has a singing voice that is wise beyond her years: the metaphorical love child of Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin.  She carries emotion when she sings, and you don't just listen to it, you feel it.  This girl has Soul, with a capital SOUL.  As for the music itself, the songs vary from Blues to Motown to good ol' Southern rock.  I challenge you to try and remain still while listening, because I'm quite sure it's impossible.  I can appreciate music that you know is meant to be listened to live, and this is one of them.  This is outdoor concert, cold beer in hand, dancing barefoot in the grass kind of music.  And this Southern transplant can appreciate that.  Oh did I mention they will be performing at Bonnaroo this year...which I will be attending.

I can see this band going far and I hope they do.  My only fear is that their single, "Hold On" is the only single-capable song on the album.  Not to say that the other songs are not equally as good, possibly better, but I think it's the only song from this album that is current enough to make it onto the radio.
Again, I don't consider this a bad thing.  I think they will do amazingly within their own genre.  It's just not a widespread or youthful genre...therefore, they may go unknown with the larger crowd.  But hey, that's not a bad thing.

Similar sounds: Janis Joplin, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Drive-by Truckers

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Up Next Wednesday: M. Ward, "Wasteland Companion"