Long Live Old Souls

Musically speaking, Amy Winehouse’s addictions did her in long ago.

We all waited around for a follow-up to her 2006 album, Back to Black. But as the years went by with no new records and a lot of cancelled concerts, I think we all knew where this story was going. Maybe two albums was all she had in her. I mean, what kind of songs would a well-adjusted clean-and-sober Amy Winehouse write anyway? I’d rather not speculate.

This is not to say that an artist needs to be drug-addled mess to make good music. I’m just saying that an artist like her — who knows how express genuine human emotion — is a rare and fleeting thing. Rare, but thankfully, not non-existent.

Enter the Shakes. An ocean of gratitude to Aquarium Drunkard for bringing my attention to this as-yet unsigned band from Athens, Alabama.

I know it’s a little odd to draw comparisons between a solo artist and a band, but I first heard the Shakes right around the time I found out Amy Winehouse died and was struck by the similarities. They’re both authentically soulful and they both sound like they’ve been around the block. The Shakes, however, are much more bluesy and hopefully a lot less self-destructive. Vocally, lead singer Brittany Howard bears a little more resemblance to Janis Joplin — another member of the infamous 27 Club. Let’s just hope she’s around longer than that.

-Eternal Pamnation

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