St. Paul & The Broken Bones

This year’s Alabama Shakes.

I’m a triangulator. I wait until all indicators flash red. Then I pay attention.

I’m not saying I did not check out St. Paul & The Broken Bones from the initial e-mail regarding their music, but when friends start tweeting about it, when more people start e-mailing me about it, I know…there’s something going on.

And I guarantee you it’s manufactured.

How do I know? If you Google the band, one of the first hits is news of their scheduled appearance on “CBS This Morning: Saturday,” that’s tomorrow in case you want to set your DVR.

You see someone is working this.

But I don’t mean that as criticism, only explanation. See the music and the performance are driving this.

Let’s start with the performance. Because all links connect to the following YouTube video:

St. Paul and the Broken Bones – Call Me

Check it out. It does not reek of Los Angeles. No one that chubby is allowed over Mulholland. And it’s not New York, there’s no slickness involved. It screams nothing so much as Alabama, where the band turns out to hail from.

But as Kiki Dee sang, it’s all about having the music in you. And this guy definitely does. That’s the magic, not the track.

And the track is not resonating. It’s only got 185,398 plays as I write this, and the clip has been up since July 15, 2013.

What I’m saying is this is not an instant reaction record, otherwise the count would be in seven figures. It can’t go viral because there are no naked bodies and the song…just isn’t catchy enough.

But if you go deeper, and I did not months ago, when I first got the link, you discover…the track “Like A Mighty River” is far superior to “Call Me,” which is featured in the above clip. In other words, St. Paul, etc. may be addressing the number one problem in music, material. Especially for soul revues. Performance only goes so far, do we want to hear you on wax?

But the truth is today’s younger generation does not have this music in their DNA. Hipsters will talk about Sharon Jones, but the truth is the Commitments occurred decades ago. Is the public ready for soul?

In a world populated by phony, real always resonates.

That’s right. Everybody knows those pop hits are written by committee, and that one guy raps and another one, two or three provide the beats. It’s all assembly line, it might as well be fabricated by Foxconn or Pegatron. So when you experience something alive, that breathes, that does not reek of the machine, you stop and pay attention. Which is what is driving St. Paul, etc.

And the truth is we’re going down the wrong path, with curated playlists.

Unless we start rating said lists. Because we don’t want to sit and listen passively to anybody’s picks, we want our own, all the time.

But we’re all still interested in the direct hit, the anointed number we must pay attention to that delivers.

The point is I’ve known about St. Paul, etc. for a while. But the preponderance of e-mail and tweets has finally got me digging deeper today. And what I’ve found is substance, something to pay attention to.

Not that much attention, the label/manager/publicity person are going to do their best to force us to pay attention, to anoint this as fantastic, but it’s not.

But it is worth paying attention to, it is a start.

Proving once again, it starts with the music, performance thereof helps, and the only way to rise above is with the push of professional players, it’s the only way to float above the cacophony, to get the professional posters/tweeters excited about it.

Yes, there are tons of tastemakers out there. And I pay attention to very few. But when all of them are on to something, I pay attention.

P.S. The key with music like this is to entice people to see it live, that truly bonds them to the act and gets them talking about it. And then it’s about…delivering the killer track that makes the commitment of the fan worthwhile, allowing him or her to say…I TOLD YOU SO!

P.P.S. The first thing a surfer does is go to your Wikipedia site. If you haven’t got one, build towards one, it’s an imprimatur of legitimacy. St. Paul, etc. don’t have one, bad move. Second, make sure the first Google hit is your own URL, which you must have. St. Paul, etc.’s initial hit is Facebook, and nothing turns me off more, it’s the home of the self-promoters. If you don’t look legitimate, it’s hard for me to take you seriously, the hurdle is that much higher.

Check out “Like A Mighty River” live on YouTube here:

St. Paul and the Broken Bones/ “Like A Mighty River”

Check out the entire album on Spotify here:

St. Paul and the Broken Bones – Spotify

One Response to St. Paul & The Broken Bones


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  1. […] Paul and the Broken Bones Band is starting to get some buzz (see: this Bob Lefsetz column or the YouTube commenter that calls the lead singer the “white Al Green”) and […]

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  1. […] Paul and the Broken Bones Band is starting to get some buzz (see: this Bob Lefsetz column or the YouTube commenter that calls the lead singer the “white Al Green”) and […]

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