Wednesday, 5 July 2017, 19:00
Grit, elemental rhythm, tight-as-a-drumhead playing, and a profound depth of feeling: these are the promises of a great soul band. And St. Paul and the Broken Bones deliver on those promises.
Half the City is the compelling full-length Single Lock/Thirty Tigers debut of the Birmingham, Alabama-based sextet, who have already created a maelstrom of interest with their roof-raising live shows and self-released four-song 2012 EP. Produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, and recorded and mixed in the storied R&B mecca of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album harkens back to the region’s classic soul roots while extending the form with electrifying potency.
Janeway explains, “We said, ‘We’re doing this as old-school as we can.’ We did it to tape. We did it live. What you hear is taken from about three takes, and we took the best take. I love it. It’s raw. You hear all the scrapes.” Special guests include Al Gamble on piano, organ and wurlitzer, Daniel Stoddard on pedal steel, Jamie Harper on baritone sax and Tanner on piano, organ and background vocals.
Half the City – vital, direct, emotionally affecting – presents the same engaged, high-voltage, in-the-pocket sound that St. Paul and the Broken Bones produce at their live dates, where Janeway’s extroverted performing style enraptures his audiences.
“I’m going to be dancing, getting in the aisles, climbing on tables,” he says. “That’s just the way we do it. It really takes me back to church. There’s not a lot of difference. When I get on stage, it’s, ‘All right, it’s time to pour it on.’”