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Alabama Shakes

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Alabama Shakes Season 38 by Andy Vastagh

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photo by Leslie Nichols

Raucous newcomers Alabama Shakes combine the old and the new to lay down gritty, bass-heavy rhythms for a perfect Southern cocktail. Fronted by the powerful songstress Brittany Howard – NPR calls her “a young woman living in the now, wrapping her arms around a tradition without letting it carry her away” – the band makes their Austin City Limits debut tonight amidst the buzz of their debut album’s release next month.

Hailing from the small town of Athens, Alabama, the foursome came together in 2009 while Howard was still in high school. After experimenting with such diverse musical styles as soul, country and progressive rock, the newly christened Shakes started playing soulfully raw music that gained high critical praise upon arrival. The band changed their name soon after and quickly emerged on the radar as a true soul gem of the South.

The band released their self-titled four-song EP in September 2011, which immediately gained widespread attention. The Observer wrote that the band’s songs “demonstrate a deep sympatico with the classics, cut through with first-hand feeling.” The band was also featured on MTV’s list of 11 Artists to Watch in 2012. Their debut LP, Boys & Girls, was released in April 2012 with great anticipation among fans and music critics alike.

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