The Wild Honey Pie

ALABAMA SHAKES, MICHAEL KIWANUKA, JESSIE BAYLIN

Monday Threesome
Like a Pandora Station but Better

All artists are influenced by the music they were exposed to in their youth or the sounds that poured out of their headphones during the recording process. Some musicians, though, take it a bit more seriously, purposely infiltrating their music with sounds from the past. This week, we bring you three new artists with old souls — musicians who are clearly blending their inspirations from another era with the music they create today.

ALABAMA SHAKES

Alabama Shakes (@alabama_shakes) have truly taken the music scene by storm this year. It seems you can’t turn a corner without hearing tales of their bluesy, magnetic rock performances or lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s Janis Joplin-esq vocals. Drawing comparisons to bands like The Rolling Stones, Alabama Shakes released their debut album Boys and Girls on April 10 to overwhelming acclaim.

When they formed the Shakes in high school, the quartet played mostly original music, but then they began covering classics by James Brown, Otis ReddingLed Zeppelin and even AC/DC, helping them form their current sound. Despite their massive success, there is one perception of the band that they would like to challenge. “A lot of people think we’re a soul revival act,” says bassist Zac Cockrell. “That’s an honor to me, classic R&B is my favorite kind of music, but everybody has their own influences. Brittany is way more into rock and roll—she likes things pretty amped up most of the time.” It’s clear that it would be hard to pin the Alabama Shakes into one genre of music, but they definitely all have a huge respect for vintage sounds.

MICHAEL KIWANUKA

British soul singer Michael Kiwanuka (@michaelkiwanuka) has cited Bill Withers, The Band, Bob Dylan and Otis Redding as influences to his music, but he’s also fan of artists like Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. Kiwanuka’s warm, peaceful debut album, Home Again, was released earlier this year and will have you grooving and singing along to his simple, yet brilliant lyrics in no time. He won the BBC Sound of 2012 and started his 2011 UK tour opening for superstar Adele. Kiwanuka has also teamed up with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys for  some easy, soulful production on the final track of the album, “Lasan”. Kiwanuka is definitely a gem of our time and is making his own way while showcasing some soul influences.

JESSIE BAYLIN

Jessie Baylin (@jessiebaylin) is a soulful singer/songwriter born in New Jersey and based in Nashville, TN. Listening to Baylin’s music, her sounds present an image of a young girl listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Nina Simone, while her style falls somewhere between Dusty Springfield and Stevie Nicks. Baylin’s vocals are smooth and soulful on her newest album, Little Spark, produced by Richard Swift of The Shins and one of the rare new recordings that was seemly made to play on vinyl. Watch the trailer below for the January 2012 release, and you’ll see why.

Not only has Baylin been inspired by music from years gone by, she surrounds herself with talented friends in the current music scene.  Her husband is Nathan Followill, the accomplished drummer of Kings of Leon, she recently performed on Saturday Night Live with The Shins and friend and actor Scarlett Johansson directed the video for Baylin’s “Hurry, Hurry” from Little Spark.

 


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