Alabama Shakes make Music Straight from the Heart
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I think in lyrics and feel in music. The words and emotions that I often search for to articulate myself are frequently expressed through harmonies,lyrics, and melodies. Like the lyrics in Alabama Shakes’ “Hold On”; “So, bless my heart, Bless my mind, I got so much to do, I ain't got much time So, must be someone up above Saying come on girl, You got to get back up. You got to hold on. Yeah you got to hold on.”  The lyrics gave a voice to my inner voice and emotions at a time when I felt very overwhelmed with life and frankly just wanted to give up.The lyrics grounded me, surrounded me and made it apparent that all I felt was shared in the collective story of the human experience. That all I had to do was just HOLD ON!

Right now I’m wildly attracted to juxtaposition and sounds of chaos duplicated in art, music, and fashion.

This contrast reminds me of life’s chaos. I discovered Alabama Shakes last year and fell madly in love with this band and it’s sound. I had a lot of chaos going on and this band gave a sound to that.They can best be characterized as Rock and Roll. A heavy beat and simple melodies. Rock and roll was an amalgam of black rhythm and blues and white country music, usually based on a twelve-bar structure and an instrumentation of guitar, bass, and drums.

"That’s one way,I’d describe, juxtaposition in music. Alabama Shakes makes that kind of music.  "

That’s one way,I’d describe, juxtaposition in music. Alabama Shakes makes that kind of music. The soul sound of the lead singer, the crashing of punk-metal sounding drums. The honesty of the guitar speaking every emotion with each string pick and transparency of a piano telling a rhymatic story of consistency. The band has been described as  "a thunderbolt dressed in blue jeans," with music that's "aching when it’s slow and growling and whooping when it’s fast." And that’s the truth!

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I had this bizarre goal to”discover” a cool band, and become a serious fan by purchasing t-shirts that they had on sale at the back table of venues for $10.00 and Cd’s that they’d made themselves with songs that wouldn’t be on the official album once they blew up! I even would have considered stickers and buttons if the band had them and displayed them in some cool way. The only criteria was that from the first rift, I needed to be hooked...line and sinker.

I saw this not so obscure band in concert after discovering them on MTV. Armed with cash to buy their t-shirt and enthusiasm to be on the cutting edge of something sure to BLOW UP I was greeted by a crowd of 2,000 easy which was FAR from the 200 I thought would be there! LOL! It was amazing. The Alabama Shakes in concert are relentless. They GO IN!  They play with a passion and fury that can only be captured when you’re giving something your everything!

Brittney, the lead singer, wore her hair straight. She was dressed in a pretty blue dress but by the end of the show, she was drenched in sweat, and her hair was reverting back to curls. She began to look more like the girl I’d seen in their “Hold On” video, donning her signature afro, jeans, and a t-shirt. As the performance set drew to a close, we all were entranced in the music. We had our phones in the air and sang the hooks in unison. At one point the band stopped and we just kept singing,acapella. Our voices to the wind and hook on repeat, we sang and swayed, “You, you aint alone just let me be your ticket home…...You, you aint alone just let me be your ticket home” The Alabama shakes by this point had left the stage but we didn’t stop singing,"You ain't alone" ,eyes closed, hands in the air and one heart. The band didn't know what to do! So they came back out and joined in, giving us an encore performance! I leaned over to my neighbor, whom I'd made fast friends with, and said this is AMAZING! She responded “F*cking Fantastic”, and we threw our heads back and let our voices belo out in unison with of the rest of the “Boys and Girls”.

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 “Boys and Girls” is their first album. I have a few songs that I would call my favorite for sure! The pictures are some of the images that I captured from the concert. As I tried to forever memorialize the amazingness that was this experience. It reminded me that Music is love. It’s our stories. Lyrics and instruments all fusing together our joys,lost, victories, defeats and our deepest desires and giving us an outlet to feel and express the things we find difficult to talk about. Music helps us understand. Music is the universal language. It is us. Check out the Alabama Shakes here and rock out with your whole heart! Let me know what you think. Enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below!

XO, Liv

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