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About Alabama Shakes
American rock group Alabama Shakes formed in 2009 in Athens, Alabama. Playing an old-fashioned rock style known as roots rock, which combines elements of sixties and seventies folk, blues and rock, the band went from virtual obscurity to multiple Grammy nominations in an incredibly short time. The band is formed of lead vocalist and guitarist Brittany Howard, guitarist Heath Fogg, Steve Johnson on drums, bassist Zac Cockrell and Ben Tanner playing keyboard.
Alabama Shakes first formed when Brittany Howard and Zac Cockrell began writing and playing music together after school, leading to them reaching out to other local musicians to form a group. At first playing with just Howard on guitar and Cockrell on bass, they attracted the attention of Heath Fogg with a demo they recorded with producer Jeremy Stephens and Fogg soon joined as their second guitarist. The band played a number of original tracks but had fun on stage with covers of artists as different as Otis Reading and Led Zeppelin. Their style of rock blended southern rock and folk music with soulful vocals and tight musical direction. Their first release was a self-titled EP released in 2011. The EP was very well received and gained national airplay on National Public Radio as well as gaining attention online when a number of the songs became big hits on social media sites.
The buzz around the band led to an invitation to the CMJ Music Marathon industry showcase in New York City in late 2011. A glowing review lead to the band signing with ATO Records in the USA as well as with UK record label Rough Trade Records. The Alabama Shakes suddenly found themselves playing famous venues all across the country in the buildup to their hotly anticipated debut album. The album, titled Boys & Girls, was released streaming online on 1 April 2012 and by early 2013 the album was certified Gold for sales in the USA.
Alabama Shakes received multiple nominations for the Grammy Awards in 2013 as well as a Best International Group nomination for the BRIT Awards. In 2012 they won the Americana Music & Honors Award for Emerging Artist of the Year. A UK tour in late 2012 saw the band make their UK television debut on Later...with Jools Holland as well as performing at the Bestival festival on the Isle of Wight. A year later they played the UK's most famous festival, Glastonbury, playing on the same stage as The Smashing Pumpkins and Editors.