St. Paul & The Broken Bones
With Langhorne Slim & The Law
Saturday, June 29, 2019
Blood is thicker than water, and it can leave scars. But like it or not, those in our bloodlines are stuck with us—and us with them—for better or for worse. Paul Janeway understands this conundrum of heritage well. The singer of the Birmingham, Alabama–based rock and roll soul band St. Paul & The Broken Bones was born and raised in America's Deep South, a place where social consciousness can still take a backseat to unsavory traditions and where a family's expectations sometimes supersede all else. Despite the fierce familial love, he enjoyed and constantly gave back while growing up—especially to his father and grandfather—from an early age Janeway realized that the way he thought about the world was a little different from those around him, and he began to seek an outlet from which to share what was in his heart and on his mind. Blessed with a powerful voice, a magnetism for connecting with people, and a gift for making music, he traded in a career in ministry to start his own band.
"I've always been the artsy weirdo in the family," Janeway says. "I'm liberal, a blue dot in a very red part of the world. When you're from Alabama you have to go out of your way to make people understand that you think a little differently. But we're an Alabama band—it's who we are."
St. Paul & The Broken Bones formed in 2012, releasing their debut album Half the City in 2014 and its follow up, 2016's Sea of Noise, too much acclaim. Those strong efforts helped place them on the national scene, and the band worked hard to prove they were no mere retro-soul band—from touring the world relentlessly, including being selected to open for The Rolling Stones and headlining two nights at the Ryman Auditorium, to TV appearances including The Late Show with David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan, Austin City Limits two appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, one being the very first episode. Janeway's fearless showmanship, thoughtful lyrics, and dedication to his performance soon became the band's calling card, and paired with the inventive and skillful direction of co-band leader Jesse Phillips as well as a full eight-man roster comprised of some of the best young instrumentalists in the South, they soon became a must-see event. (In addition to Janeway on lead vocals and Phillips on bass and guitar, the lineup is rounded out by Browan Lollar (guitars), Andrew Lee (drums), Al Gamble (keyboards), Allen Branstetter (trumpet), Chad Fisher (trombone) and Amari Ansari (saxophone), who replaced Jason Mingledorff following the album's recording) Over time, Janeway has learned the art of balancing expectations and how to reconcile his past with his future, just as his band have learned how to overcome their perception by pushing against its ceiling. In embracing those things he cannot change, he has forged ahead as an artist and as a man. And with his band's new album, Young Sick Camellia, Janeway has created a space for St. Paul & The Broken Bones to rival any forward-thinking band making music today, based on a concept all-too familiar to him: family, and how we love them despite our differences.
Longhorn Slim and the Law
As the phenomena of instant connection and the need for constant self-improvement further implant their tendrils into our culture, the ability to truly connect with each other and ourselves has begun to fade. As we all reach for our smartphones to gaze upon the manufactured perfection of the lives of those we admire, we lose sight of what makes our own lives important.
Nashville's Langhorne Slim interlaces this theme throughout his new album. "Everyone's searchin' for something better around every corner, but it's already right here," Langhorne says. "We're all born whole -- through livin' we fall apart..."
Slim reflects truths that we may or may not want to admit; in "Life is Confusing," he muses that "life is confusing, and people are insane." He stands resolute in the face of trial: ."..you could break my heart, but you'll never break me," he sings on "Never Break." He calls upon the listener during this time fraught with challenges to unplug from the trajectory our culture has deemed is "right" and find strength in our own vulnerability, in our own instincts. "We look to our phones, drugs, sex whatever to find ourselves when it's already right here," Slim says. These songs join in the rallying call for the wild ones in us all.
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