American outfit Alabama Shakes can boast some big-name support
With diehard fans including actor Russell Crowe and former White Stripe Jack White, newcomers Alabama Shakes have got some high-profile support - and some hype to live up to.
Hailing from the Alabama town of Athens, the four-piece outfit are gaining rave reviews - not least for the strong performances from powerhouse vocalist Brittany Howard - the former postwoman, who lives on a trailer park surrounded by scrapped vehicles.
However, the band - who deal in blues rock with a Southern-fried, late Sixties feel - are a little bemused by all the fuss.
Guitarist Heath Fogg, the oldest member of the gang at just 27, says: “It’s overwhelming, really. Things are going really well, better than I ever thought they would. I don’t know about all this fuss.
“It’s kind of strange - something people tell us about, rather than noticing it happening.
“Brittany gets it more than the rest of us because she gets recognised.
“She was eating barbecue at home and someone took a photo and put her picture in the paper. For me, I don’t feel any buzz or hype until we play a show.”
The buzz is definitely there. They are one of the hottest new acts in the UK just now and they have a run of sold-out tour dates globally.
“We’re seeing a lot of places for the first time as we travel,” says Fogg. Another dream will come true when
they support Jack White on part of his forthcoming world tour.
White invited the band to play in his Nashville record store, Third Man, and subsequently released a seven-inch single of the performance.
Given the Shakes’ musical influences - Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Janis Joplin, golden-era American RnB and Southern rock - it’s perhaps no surprise that the former White Stripe, now a solo artist, is a fan of the band.
Needless to say, the respect goes both ways.
Fogg raves: “We’re all huge admirers of Jack White.
“The things he’s done. Man, I loved White Stripes, and the whole Detroit garage rock thing he started in the early 2000s.”