It is always a joy and a delight to discover the roots of a talented new band who clearly cut their groove in live performance. Alabama Shakes is just that sort of young band. Their energy and verve are infectious and they achieve the difficult task of sounding both Old School Blues and New Century Groove at the same time. Alabama Shakes are a younger, if uglier, Black Keys — but with more musicianship and better soul.
I am a big Dr. John fan. I love his piano. I’m crazy about his voice. In his latest album, Locked Down, that dropped on April 3, 2012, Dr. John strangely fades away a bit as Black Keys producer and performer Dan Auerbach places his hands on Dr. John’s keyboard. The result is a bit of a disappointing mishmash of a previously undeniable musical identity:
Storied musician and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dr. John–Mac Rebennack–will release LOCKED DOWN, a startling album that marks a significant departure from his recent efforts, on April 3, 2012. The new album, produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, will be Dr. John’s first for Nonesuch Records.
It’s an entirely new approach for the iconic Dr. John, featuring as it does his collaboration with Auerbach and a band of young musicians Auerbach hand-picked to make LOCKED DOWN at his studio Easy Eye Sound in Nashville. “It was way cool cutting this record with Dan and the crew he put together for it,” says Rebennack. “It’s reel HIP.
For the last few years, I have been enjoying the music of The Black Keys. I was first drawn to the band because they have a drum and guitar setup, much like one of my favorite bands, The White Stripes. I quickly came to realize that the two are not anything alike in terms of sound other than a nice raw feel and not too much production. I have also enjoyed the minimalism with which they present themselves in a live setting.