In early November of 2012, a good friend of mine named Ashlee-Jean Trott, who books a fantastic live music show in Nashville called Music City Roots, shot me an email. Included therein was a link to a Youtube video and a very brief message – “Dave, you have to check out this band.”
I get messages like this one from Ashlee-Jean all the time. I have a tremendous amount of respect for her musical taste and we chat regularly about bands, what with our roles in finding bands for our respective events. But this message seemed more urgent, like there was something pressing, an as yet unshared secret that I was being let in upon.
So I clicked the link. Hot diggety damn.
The video was a clip from the previous week’s Music City Roots performance of St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Before the four minute rendition of “Broken Bones & Pocket Change” was over, I had replied to Ashlee-Jean’s email with my own brief response – “I need contact information and I need it now.”
Less than two days later, I had confirmed St. Paul & The Broken Bones for our festival and both of the concert series that we sponsor. It was apparent – readily, glaringly, painfully apparent – that there was something special about this band.
Sam Cooke, James Brown, Otis Redding . . . . all of them are reaching back to us from the grave through Paul Janeway, the band’s bowtied and bespectacled front man. While the band he stands before – bassist Jesse Phillips, guitarist Browan Lollar, drummer Andrew Lee, and horn players Ben Griner and Allen Branstetter – is nothing short of exceptional, it is Janeway and his vintage voice that captivates listeners.
Hear Janeway sing once and I dare you to turn away.
Just last month, I caught all three of the band’s sets at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Sure, there were lots of others places I could have been, lots of other bands I could have seen for the first time. But I didn’t. In fact, I couldn’t. I had to witness first hand – three times over – the musical, spiritual, revival-like atmosphere that is a St. Paul & The Broken Bones set. And the band’s sets were packed. Without exception, people – both fans and festival workers — were raving about them.
These guys have caught the lightning in the bottle, folks.
St. Paul & The Broken Bones will be rolling into Charlottesville tonight, taking the stage at The Southern Café & Music Hall with Major & The Monbacks, and we want to give you a chance to check out the show for free. Take a shot at our trivia question below and EMAIL your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. A winner of a couple guest list tickets will be drawn from all correct answers received by 3:30 this afternoon.
Question – Guitarist Browan Lollar played with what former Drive-By Truckers singer/guitarist prior to being snatched up by St. Paul & The Broken Bones?