St. Paul and the Broken Bones get ready for a new album and tour. (Photo submitted)
The modern resurgence of the Alabama music landscape has proved to be on that is deep-rooted with tradition and is cranking out time-honored musicians that will hold rank for years to come.
With the rise of artists such as Jason Isbell, Alabama Shakes and John Paul White of The Civil Wars fame, the next group in line for heightened success is no doubt Birmingham’s Southern soul outfit, St. Paul & The Broken Bones.
Lead by charismatic front man Paul Janeway, St. Paul & The Broken Bones are in the midst of a current tour that has spanned several dates which includes a show with Drive-By Truckers on their legendary 40 Watt run in Athens, Ga. and a date in Music City on Feb. 27 at Mercy Lounge.
“It feels like forever,” Janeway said jokingly about how the tour has been moving along.
“It’s been good so far and we’re all ready to go. We’re excited to come back to Nashville. It’s like our third home. We have a lot of connections so we love it there,” Janeway added about the return to Nashville.
Janeway grew up in Chelsea, Ala. but his home base is Birmingham and he looks to remain there as his Alabama roots run deep.
“Birmingham has a diverse music scene. You get to hear different kinds of music and everyone is very supportive. There are some great clubs and we’re partial to The Bottletree. They are great in building the local music scene,” Janeway said about Birmingham and its music scene.
With Southern gospel roots, Janeway was raised in a non-denominational, Pentecostal inclined church. While growing up, his only secular influences came in the form of Sam Cooke and The Stylistics while he later explored open mic nights in Birmingham as a teen and began listening to Otis Redding, James Carr and O.V. Wright.
When it comes to influences like Redding and Cooke, it soon becomes more evident as to where Janeway fine-tuned his skills. Fueled by powerful vocals, dynamic range and control, Janeway charges through a live set with gleaming delivery and stage moves that would make Billy Preston proud.
When asked about how he keeps the energy going from start to finish, Janeway laughingly said, “I guess prayer.”
“I really don’t know to be honest with you. I only know one speed to do things. I’m doing it a lot more. When we get on stage, its time to bring it on and we try to do it right. We kind of feed of each other and support each other,” he said.
The collaborative effort extends beyond their live show and also into the studio as all six members share writing credits across the 10 tracks on their latest release, “Half The City.”
Alabama Shakes’ Ben Tanner produced the album, and it was recorded during a few sessions at Nutthouse Studios in none other than Muscle Shoals, Ala. In the same manner, the album was mixed at the historic FAME Studios.
He has a strong work ethic,” Janeway said in regard to Tanner’s production work.
“We decided to do it live, cut it all to tape, and didn’t overdub much. It was stressful at the beginning and I believe whatever we did he captured it,” Janeway said.
Janeway does have a sigh of relief on finishing their first full-length, but he is also one who keeps his eye set on the future and the next steps.
“It’s definitely a release. We’ve had it recorded for over a year. It’s been nice to have it out and everyone listen to it. We’re forward momentum guys so it’s off to the next thing now,” Janeway said.
The album features 10 cuts, including the upbeat “Call Me” and a few slow burners like “Dixie Rothko,” which Janeway hinted to be one of his favorites.
“I really like performing ‘Dixie Rothko’ and ‘Grass is Greener.’ Both of those I enjoy live. They are all good moments for me,” Janeway said.
While the songs always speak for their self, it is St. Paul’s live show that is the bread and butter and will be one not to miss.
And if history repeats itself at Mercy Lounge, there will be a packed house so be sure to purchase tickets in advance as Nashville is no longer a “day of show” town.
Steelism will open in support and for more information on St. Paul and the Broken Bones, visit stpaulandthebrokenbones.com.