Brittany Howard

A-To-Z is back with the letter B. The first voice to come to mind was Brittany Howard. How could it not be? That voice. Soulful, powerful, raw. I first discovered Brittany via Alabama Shakes, the band she is the front-woman to. Though I was a little late to the Shakes, once I heard them I was in. And then last year Brittany released a solo album, Jaime. Without a doubt, it was one of my Top 5 favorites of the year. The songs, the songwriting, the honesty and emotion, and that voice, I was hooked for good.

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Brittany Howard
A To Z  of Black Voices In Music
The Letter B

The first song I heard from Alabama Shakes is actually the first track off of their first full album, 2012’s Boys & Girls. It is just coincidence that it was the first song though, as I didn’t hear the album in full for a few years later (see late to the Shakes comment above). I heard “Hold On” on a Sirius/XM station. I think on The Spectrum channel. It was during a work commute and the song really stood out to me. It took a few times hearing it to hear who it was by, and since it was during a drive-listen, I’d forget to look it up whenever I was not-driving. I think I actually put it on a Playlist, too, after hearing it a few times – though I still didn’t explore further. Not yet anyway.

“Hold On” by Alabama Shakes

“Bless my heart,
bless my soul,
didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old.
There must be someone up above,
sayin’, ‘Come on, Brittany, you got to come on up.'”

I’m definitely glad she made it to 22 years old, and on.

The first few times I listened to “Hold On” I just had this overwhelming “I must know this voice” feeling. I hit play now, listening again after many listens, and that feeling is still there. I still must know that voice.

Brittany Howard Alabama Shakes A To Z

A couple of years passed before I really dove into Brittany and Alabama Shakes. I was at work, sitting in a co-worker – and fellow music obsessive’s – office and he mentioned them. I knew I knew the name. Knew that I heard them before. But, I couldn’t remember the name of “Hold On”. He pulled up a song on his iTunes and hit play. Immediately I recognized Brittany’s voice.

After that reminder, I started to explore their music and LISTEN.

This was around when their second album was released, Sound & Color. I think maybe because of timing – the album coming out right when I was diving in – it is my favorite of theirs. It’s hard to pick my choice of the best track off the album, but if I had to choose today (and I’m making myself choose today), it would be “The Greatest”.

Check-out this keen live version of it:

“The Greatest” (live) by Alabama Shakes

“Well, I never meant to be the greatest,
I only ever want to be your baby.”

Alabama Shakes

I was definitely in the Shake now and got to know both of their albums inside and out. And then…AND THEN…Brittany released a solo album. As much as I’d been wowed by her voice before, well, her solo album made that wow explode into a big, giant, all capitals W.O.W.

Brittany Howard Jaime A To Z

As I mentioned earlier, Jamie was definitely in my Top 5 favorite albums list of 2019. From the first listen I knew it would be. I loved it BIG right from the start. My first listen favorite? It as a tie between “Stay High” –

 “Stay High” by Brittany Howard

“See all I do is keep it cool and don’t worry ’bout what everyone is doing.
I already feel like doing it again, honey.
I just want to stay high.
I just want to stay high.
I just want to stay high with you.”

and “Georgia” –

“Georgia” by Brittany Howard

“Georgia, see you don’t know it,
but I’m afraid to tell you how I really feel.
But show you what I really mean when I’m sayin’ hello,
oh, how I feel to watch you come and go.

I just want Georgia to notice me.”

Brittany Howard A To Z

Now though, a year later, and after many listens, my favorite from the album is “Goat Head”. Just. Wow.

“Goat Head” by Brittany Howard

“See, tomatoes are green,
and cotton is white.
My heroes are black –
so why God got blue eyes?”

Brittany Howard A To Z

I cannot wait to hear what comes next. I just can’t wait.

While we all wait, here is a Playlist of my favorite Brittany/Shakes songs. I’d love to know what your favorites are, too.

BH Playlist

Brittany Howard
My Favorite Songs

Listen on Spotify and YouTube

“Always Alright” by Alabama Shakes
“I Found You” by Alabama Shakes
“Georgia” by Brittany Howard
“Hold On” by Alabama Shakes
“Sound & Color” by Alabama Shakes
“Goat Head” by Brittany Howard
“History Repeats” by Brittany Howard
“Don’t Wanna Fight” by Alabama Shakes
“Stay High” by Brittany Howard
“Leather Jacket” by Thunderbitch
“Short and Sweet” by Brittany Howard
“Presence” by Brittany Howard
“This Feeling” by Alabama Shakes
“When My Man Comes Home” by Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu
“Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am” by Brittany Howard, My Morning Jacket, and Merrill Garbus
“You Ain’t Alone” by Alabama Shakes
“Guess Who” by Alabama Shakes
“Heavy Chevy” by Alabama Shakes
“Over My Head” by Alabama Shakes
“Hang Loose” by Alabama Shakes
“I Ain’t the Same” by Alabama Shakes
“Closer” by Thunderbitch
“Baby” by Brittany Howard
“Tomorrow” by Brittany Howard
“Gemini” by Alabama Shakes
“I Wonder” by Brittany Howard and Ruby Amanfu
“Heartbreaker” by Alabama Shakes
“Boys & Girls” by Alabama Shakes
“Dunes” by Alabam Shakes
“Miss You” by Alabama Shakes

Brittany Howard – My Favorite Songs

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