If you haven’t heard of Birmingham, Alabama’s ST PAUL AND THE BROKEN BONES yet, don’t worry. They’ve been around for barely a year and are fronted by a bespectacled former bank teller, yet – in that short span the soul and roots worlds have taken notice: starting with a “holy-shit-what-did-I-just-see” performance at Nashville’s Music City Roots last November (see it for yourself in the video below…. just wait til you get to around 1:45), breathless reviews from NPR Music and Paste, and following with packed shows across The South, this high energy outfit (Think early James Brown at the Apollo, recorded by Stax) is slated for a very big 2013. A new full length is on the way in April from the folks who brought you The Alabama Shakes and they have some tasty festivals on tap.
Their affable, whirling-dervish bandleader Paul Janeway confessed he wears the same suit to shows that he wears to funerals – but my guess is you’ll be talking about these fellows any day now. Paul met up for a phone conversation in late January – we chatted about his identity crisis, his future as a circus ring leader and how the bluegrass and soul genres are closer than you think. Here is an abridged transcript.
What is the first word that comes to mind to when you get up on stage and sing that first note? What does that feel like?
PAUL: [Laughs]. Oh man, the first word …