Alabama Shakes is a fast-rising rock band from Athens, Alabama, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, drummer Steve Johnson and bassist Zac Cockrell. Their distinctive sound, which features Howards pleasantly gritty vocals and Fogg’s hard-driving guitar licks, has been described in myriad ways, including blues-rock and retro-soul. According to Howard, “retro soul is not what we’re going for, though it’s understandable why people say it,” adding “we take inspiration from that, but we all understand Black Sabbath, too. On the record, we left a lot of room for whatever we want to do in the future.” Regardless of their “official” genre, their music has drawn in a deluge of fans both young and old.
The New York Times described the band as “a thunderbolt dressed in bluejeans” with music that’s “aching when it’s slow and growling and whooping when it’s fast.” NPR named them one of the best bands of 2011, while MTV called them one of the top bands to look for in 2012. They were also named Best Touring Band at the Pollstar Awards, Emerging Artist of the Year at the Americana Music Association’s Honors and Awards ceremony and was nominated for three Grammy® Awards in 2013. Their debut album, Boys & Girls, bowed in the Top 20 on The Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on the Independent Label chart and officially marked their arrival as a major new rock and roll band. Their most popular hit “Hold On” was voted the #1 Best Song of 2012 by Rolling Stone and “Always Alright” is included prominently in the Oscar®-nominated film, “Silver Linings Playbook.”