While careful not to call it a breakup, Alabama Shakes frontwoman Brittany Howard recently announced that she’s putting her famed southern blues rock group on hold for the time being, in order to try her hand at making music under her own name, with a forthcoming debut album, Jaime, set to arrive on Sept. 20. The most personal batch of songs she’s ever written, and an experimental departure from the Shakes’ sound, which feels at least partially influenced by other side projects Thunderbitch and Bermuda Triangle, Jaime is, without a doubt, one of our most-anticipated releases of the year! In celebration, Brittany is set to embark on a national tour, including a stop tonight, Aug. 19 at The Ryman Auditorium, certainly the most fitting space in town to debut her latest musical chapter, along with fellow local favorite and collaborator Becca Mancari. Tickets are available right here while they last, and you can read on for more about the show below!
Alabama born, Nashville based powerhouse vocalist and singer-songwriter Brittany Howard has become one of the most beloved and celebrated musical fixtures of her generation thanks to her breakout southern blues rock group the Alabama Shakes, who formed a decade ago in their native Alabama, broke out with 2012 debut Boys & Girls, and continued to find success with 2015 follow up Sound & Color, earning radio hits, numerous Grammys, landing on major festival stages and television appearances, and regularly rubbing elbows with all-time musical greats like Paul McCartney. Which is why, on the surface, it might seem a bit of a shock that Howard, now 30, recently opted to put the group on pause for the time being, in order to pursue a solo career. If you’ve been paying attention to Brittany’s musical escapades, however, it totally feels like a natural evolution of her desire to constantly explore new avenues, having previously teamed up with members of other Nashville outfits for punk-spirited, short-lived pop up group Thunderbitch (whose one and only album dropped in 2015) as well as local singer-songwriters Becca Mancari and Jesse Lafser as Bermuda Triangle, another short-lived, all-for-fun, yet critically-acclaimed endeavor, who played a handful of regional shows and released an EP last year.
Born from a desire to push herself and experiment as an artist, as well as to tackle some deeply personal subjects like growing up poor in a mixed race family, sexuality, religious guilt, and the teenage death of her sister, Jaime, for whom her forthcoming solo debut, due out Sept. 20, is named, and who Howard credits with teaching her to play piano and write poetry, Brittany’s venture into making music under her own name sounds like a cathartic and therapeutic personal and musical exercise, and a necessary reflection and evolution for an accomplished singer searching for her truest voice. Partially written during a stint in Topanga Canyon, and recorded with engineer Shawn Everett in Los Angeles, the album features Howard’s long-time friend and Alabama Shakes bassist Zac Cockrell, experimental keyboard player Robert Glasper, and drummer Nate Smith, and moves beyond her group’s southern rock rooted sound to experiment in psychedelic funk, hip hop, soul, and more, incorporating a broad range of instruments, recording techniques, and sonic landscapes. While Thunderbitch’s unforgettable Ghot Wingz debut and Bermuda Triangle’s lovely Basement East outing were excellent introductions to Howard’s prior side endeavors, The Ryman feels like the perfectly-suited spot for one of the most profound and talent singers making music today to showcase her most personal and singularly focused batch of songs to date. Don’t miss this sure-to-be legendary night!
A perfectly paired opener and another essential reason to make it to this show is local indie country/folk rock singer-songwriter and longtime site fave Becca Mancari, who in late 2017 released her debut full-length, Good Woman, a dreamy, road-worn, forlorn, and confessional culmination and documentation of several years of travel and transformative life experiences, funneled into an absolutely beautiful and earnest masterpiece, a triumph of a debut that was one of our absolute favorite records of that year. Also part of supergroup Bermuda Triangle, along with Jesse Lafser and Howard herself, Mancari has finally been getting the broader critical attention she deserves over the past couple of years, and her live show is nothing short of breathtaking. Fingers crossed for a Bermuda Triangle song or two, but Becca at The Ryman is already a seriously good reason to show up early!
Brittany Howard and Becca Mancari will perform tonight, Aug. 19 at The Ryman Auditorium. The show is all ages, begins at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are available to purchase for $50-70.