Alabama Shakes comes to the ExploreAsheville.com Arena Tuesday April 26th at 8pm! Tickets are $40.50 in advance and $45.50 day of show; this show is general admission. Tickets will be available through the USCC Box Office, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or order online.
SOUND & COLOR
“We took our time to write this record, and I’m really glad we did,” says Brittany Howard, lead singer and guitarist of Alabama Shakes, about the band’s new album Sound & Color. “We were able to sit down and think about what’s exciting to us, explore all the things we wanted to on our first album. This record is full of genre-bending songs—it’s even harder now when people ask, ‘What kind of band are you?’ I have no clue.”
Sound & Color is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the Shakes’ 2012 debut Boys & Girls, which earned the group three Grammy nominations, including a nod for Best New Artist. The gold-certified album’s breakthrough paved the way for the Shakes—Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, drummer Steve Johnson, and touring keyboard players Ben Tanner and Paul Horton—to become one of the most celebrated live acts in the world, as they delivered unforgettable performances everywhere from Saturday Night Live to the main stages of such festivals as Bonnaroo and Glastonbury.
The album’s twelve songs reveal a band honed by years on the road, and drawing from a wide range of influences. The bluesy groove of “Shoegaze” or the garage-rock freak-out on “The Greatest” give way to the psychedelic space jam “Gemini.” The gently swaying, chiming title song opens the album with what Howard calls “more of a visual thing, I think of this whole scene going on,” then explodes into the urgent, tightly-coiled funk of “Don’t Wanna Fight.” Long instrumental intros and passages create hazy atmosphere, and then the intensity of Howard’s vocals snaps everything back into riveting focus.
“Ever since Boys & Girls came out, we’ve tried really hard to not give in to media or public definition of what we should be,” adds Fogg. “So those kinds of influences have been there all the time, but this record pushes them to different extremes—before, if we had a more contemporary R&B feel, it was more hidden under a classic vibe, but it’s separated a little more drastically on this one.”
With Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes prove that the response to Boys & Girls was no fluke. Expanding on the soulful blues-rock base that made their name, they defy predictable expectations and map an exciting, surprising, and innovative new direction. As they prepare to return to the road, what shines through is a sense of pride and self-assuredness—feelings not often associated with the always-tricky sophomore album.
“We really thought about what record we wanted to make, and decided that we didn’t want to do something like Boys & Girls, Part Two,” says Brittany Howard. “We’ve grown a lot, learned a lot about music, listened and thought about a lot of things—about being minimal and tasteful, keeping it classy. After that decision to start over, with a clean slate, it was easy. We could just do what we wanted to do.”