St. Paul & The Broken Bones: an old sound finds a new audience

St. Paul & The Broken Bones: an old sound finds a new audience

Do you ever wish you were transported to a southern Baptist church at the exact time the congregation was singing their hearts out?  WHO DOESN’T?!?!  I have great news: there are seven youngish white dudes who do a very credible impersonation of just such a sound.  St. Paul & The Broken Bones are apparently so new to the scene that they don’t even have their own Wikipedia page.  Repeat: I had to compile information about them without Wikipedia.  Mind. Blown.

I noticed St. Paul & The Broken Bones’ album, “Half the City,” on iTunes yesterday and am always intrigued by bands that I have literally never heard of.  They may have their performances at South by Southwest to thank for the exposure that has put them on the map and landed their month-old album in iTunes’ top 20 albums. Their sweaty, knockout performances also put them on Rolling Stone’s list of “48 Best Things We Saw at SXSW 2014.”  Not bad!

The lead singer, Paul Janeway, is 30 years old and from rural Alabama.  He came close to getting his college degree in accounting (one semester short) before he decided to pursue his true love: music.  His looks have been compared to Drew Carey and his voice to Al Green or Otis Redding.  However, when I close my eyes, he is a southern black preacher who is belting it all out.  Or James Brown.

Maybe it’s not surprising that Janeway actually worked toward becoming a (white) preacher at one point.  As he told NPR in a rare interview: "I learned more from preaching than I did singing in church….because you learn a little bit more about how to interact with the crowd — feeling momentum, just feeling that intensity — and it's not a whole lot different than what we do now."

I’m very bummed that I missed their recent Chicago stop- their lives performances sound pretty memorable. Between this group and their buddies Alabama Shakes, it’s refreshing to hear a new (old) sound gaining some attention.  My favorite song on the album is “Like a Mighty River,” but “Call Me” is the one that is starting to get a bit of attention. Enjoy the video for that one below, but consider investing the $7.99 to buy the whole album.  It’s worth the pick-me-up you’ll get every time you listen.  LOVE!

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Filed under: Album Reviews

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