Get To Know A Grammy Nominee: Brittany Howard

From left: Zac Cockrell, bass; Brittany Howard, lead vocals, guitar; Steve Johnson, drums; Heath Fogg, guitar.

You knew it was too good to last: today’s “Get To Know A Grammy Nominee” will be the final of the series, as the 56th Annual Grammy Awards are happening Sunday, January 26 on CBS. Previously we looked at the millennial answer to Jimi Hendrix, Aussies with an ear for “future soul” and a jazz singer with a voice that could melt granite. Today, it’s all about reminding the world that Black women rock, too.

Brittany Howard, lead singer and guitarist of the Alabama Shakes. Photo:

Brittany Howard, lead singer and guitarist of the Alabama Shakes. Photo:

Brittany Howard is the lead singer and guitarist for the Athens, Alabama rock group the Alabama Shakes, who are nominated for Best Rock Performance alongside other rock massives such as David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Queens of The Stone Age and Jack White. She invokes comparisons to Janis Joplin when she sings, and she channels Rosetta Tharpe when she plays. In other words, she is fierce, and you will deal. She told, “Somebody could’ve said to me, ‘You can’t play rock music, you’re Black.’ Watch me!” Her tenacity has paid off, as this is the second year in a row that the Alabama Shakes have been nominated for a Grammy. The group is still riding the wave of success and adulation that came with their Best New Artist and Best Rock Performance nominations last year.

Watch a live performance of the Alabama Shakes’ Grammy-nominated song “Always Alright” from their February 2013 appearance on Saturday Night Live:

Sunday’s 56th Annual Grammy Awards are just the first stop for the Alabama Shakes in 2014. Last week, they were announced as headliners at the inaugural Suburbia Music Festival alongside David Guetta and J. Cole this Spring. Before they rock the crowds in Plano, Texas where the festival is being held, they’ll be appearing at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival just one day prior. This year is already shaping up to be killer for the Shakes, and of course we’re looking forward to seeing what else develops.

If you’ve seen and heard enough to determine that your life requires more Alabama Shakes, go on and get their delightful debut album “Boys & Girls,” which features their previous Grammy-nominated hit “Hold On”:

You’ll find more videos and streaming audio on their website, and of course you can like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Best of luck to the Alabama Shakes at the Grammys on Sunday, and for the rest of the upcoming year.

With the 56th Annual Grammy Awards airing on Sunday, January 26th on CBS, I’m sticking a fork in this “Get To Know A Grammy Nominee” series because it’s DONE. It’s been a good time, as is par for the course when good music is involved. Shall we do this again, next year? I’m down if you are. If you missed the series, the previous posts are linked below: