I remember the first time I heard a recording of a young B.B. King wailing and growling his way through a I-IV-V shuffle about some woman what done broke his heart. Something went twang in my chest, then there was a mild adrenaline rush, and I was hooked. As absurd as it sounds, my skinny white suburban middle class self would be inextricably hooked on blues music for the rest of my life. Because I needed that feeling every day.
Hasn’t been often I’ve had that feeling of a tectonic shift when discovering a musician. Clapton. Hendrix. John Lee Hooker. Muddy. Stevie Ray. Public Enemy. Tom Waits, after he chased me around a few times. A few others, not many for 37 years. They only come around once every few seasons for me. My wife and I had just started dating when the last one came around.
Another one just happened today, about ten minutes before I wrote this sentence. I found this MetaFilter post (via dooce, no idea how I missed it when it first went up) about an up-and-coming band called The Alabama Shakes. I watched the first video linked there.
I said god damn.
That thing went twang again, first time in about a decade. Maybe it was partly Levon Helm’s recent passing, maybe it was how long it had been since the last time–shit, maybe it was the Wellbutrin–but I even got a little choked up by the end.
I don’t want to oversell it. I got the album, and it’s damn good. Sources tell me it’s nothing compared to watching them live. My guess is you’ll be hearing a lot from them pretty soon. Because seriously, god damn.