St. Paul and the Broken Bones: Half The City
“I’m torn up,” enigmatic frontman Paul Janeway of Birmingham, Ala.-based sextet St. Paul and the Broken Bones sings on the album opener, with soulfully forceful might among rich and sharp instrumentation that includes a commanding horn section. The 12 songs on their debut album Half The City capture elements of Memphis soul, Muscle Shoals R&B and even some Motown. The players do it in a way that’s thrilling and never feels like a contrived tribute to the past. Janeway’s powerful pipes are in the vein of greats like Al Green and Sam Cooke but his raw emotion that he learned from his days singing at his Pentecostal church helps him stand out from the crowd. The album was produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, who co-founded Single Lock Records with John Paul White (Civil Wars) and Will Trapp, and while the Broken Bones share some similarities with the Shakes, they’re a different beast, which Tanner captures quite effectively.