How much do I love this sensational new band from Athens, Alabama (soon to join Athens, Georgia in indie-rock iconography)? How much do I love their singer, Brittany Howard? Let me count the ways.
I love her swooping, gritty, everything-hanging-out delivery. I love the grunge sensibility wedded to the R&B/Soul.
(I do hate the way lazy writers reach for the standard Janis Joplin comparison for any singer like this. But I love that they are beginning to be called on it.Think of who Janis was channelling in the first place.)
I love it that instead of “Look at this new sensation who sings just like she was black” – much as I love Amy Winehouse and Adele -this time it’s a young black girl who is getting the fame and the accolades.
I love it that she performs comfortably and dynamically in her natural body and her jeans and T shirts, you know, like the men are allowed to do in a band. I love it that she hasn’t fallen into the clutches of A and R men who would pressure her to get thin and wear sequins and six-inch heels and drop the guitar.
Not to diss women who stand up front and wear tight dresses to sing soul and R&B – many of those singers are wonderful. I just love it that Brittany breaks that mould.
I love her swagger with that guitar. I love how she knows how to sling it around and perform with it. (Are you listening, La Roux?)
I read somewhere that the A & R men had come after her to try to win her away for a solo career and that she’d refused to leave the band. I can’t verify that story as I’ve been unable to google it up again, but if it’s true, I love her for it.
Most of all, I love the music. Here, have some more.