Janis Joplin, Sharon Jones, The Black Crowes
Alabama Shakes will make you shimmy to the down home grooves of their eponymous EP, a refreshing take on southern soul and a celebration of a musical genre. A cross between motown soul and southern R&B, Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard alternates between the classic soul voice of Mary Wells (of "My Guy" and "Beat Me To The Punch" fame) on "I Found You" and an androgynous version of Jack White, on the lead track "Hold On".
Amy Winehouse, with the help of the musicians behind the Daptone Records label, fueled a resurgence of interest in the soul and bebop music of the 60's. With the passing of Ms. Winehouse, Sharon Jones, like Brittany Howard, a diminutive black singer from Alabama, took over the retro soul mantle for the Daptone Label. Now the ATO Records label, founded by Dave Matthews and Michael McDonald, have jumped on the soul bandwagon. Soon after discovering the Shakes (by way of the Aquarium Drunkard music blog) they laid plans to release the band's debut record in 2012, a focused amalgamation of deep soul music with a gritty, roots-oriented version of rhythm and blues that originated in the Mississippi Delta. The band's rise from music blog buzz to major label release is a typical story in the modern music industry world, but the band's authenticity defies the hype machine that generally surrounds flavor of the month bands. The Alabama Shakes resonate because they are real, and real talented. The Shakes are currently on a nationwide jaunt across the states, with additional February dates in London and the UK, so don't pass up the chance to catch them before they hit the stadium circuit.