RIYL: Alabama Shakes

Photo: Alabama Shakes
Alabama Shakes

Since the release of their breakout self-titled EP in 2011, Alabama Shakes have been on a swift trajectory to becoming one of the biggest bands in rock music today. That rise to fame culminated in their sophomore album, "Sound & Color," debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard Albums Chart in April.

For music fans both casual and fanatical, the young Alabama band's appeal is plain to hear. With boogie rhythms, blues guitar riffs and singer Brittany Howard's brazenly soulful vocals, the music of Alabama Shakes harkens back to the golden age of rock 'n' roll by embracing the genre's southern roots.

In addition to performances this year at major music festivals like Bonnaroo, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza, Alabama Shakes play a sold-out Red Rocks show this summer -- though the group's most notable show to date may be when they performed at the White House in 2013.

If you're a fan of Alabama Shakes, here are a few national and local artists you may also like.

White Denim

The ever-touring Texas band's early work leans towards punk and psychedelic rock. But on 2013's "Corsicana Lemonade," the quartet recalls the music of its home state -- namely the shuffling blues of ZZ Top -- along with bar rockers like Thin Lizzy.

Heartless Bastards

Heartless Bastards leader Erika Wennerstrom and her band craft garage rock heavily influenced by blues and country music. While Wennerstrom doesn't have quite the range of Brittany Howard, her vocals instill each Bastards song with a rugged, lovelorn quality reminiscent of classic soul singers.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Denver singer-songwriter Nathaniel Rateliff became a soul man for his latest project, The Night Sweats. Without a proper album out, the group has made waves nationwide through energetic live performances. Rateliff and his band should find a larger audience with a performance at this year's Newport Folk Festival, where Alabama Shakes played in 2012, hot off the release of debut album "Boys & Girls."

Blake Mills

Blake Mills, a highly regarded session guitarist at the age of 28, produced Alabama Shakes' "Sound & Color" in Nashville. While he has helped them and other bands capture their magic on record, he's a songwriter in his own right. His Americana-influenced work captured the attention of Fiona Apple, who brought him along as a co-headliner for a recent tour.


A short-lived group from Boulder in the late '60s/early 70s, Zephyr was notable for the soulful vocals of Candy Givena and the blues guitar licks of Tommy Bolin, who would go on to play for Deep Purple before his untimely death in 1976.

Read more RIYL posts, featuring bands like Wilco, Spoon and Modest Mouse.