St. Paul and the Broken Bones
St. Paul and the Broken Bones are born out of a southern soul tradition. Coming from Birmingham Alabama, where the sounds of Gospel, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett and Booker T. and the MG’s are the sound track to hot sweaty summer nights, St. Paul stays close to that heartbeat, writing music that pays homage to those essential musical roots. The band is touring currently and stopped in at the Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville, Virginia to play to a sold out house on a Thursday night in late October.
The night opened with a stirring set by the Detroit, Michigan band, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. Hernandez and company quickly won the crowd to their side with soulful vocals and a driving and tasty drum line that had gypsy flavored beats rolling constantly over the tom toms. The pounding beat got fans dancing early and screaming louder and louder as the band crushed an hour long set.
The main course, St. Paul and the Broken Bones came out of the box looking polished, grinding a fabulous instrumental version of the funk classic “Sing a Simple Song” by Sly and the Family Stone. The crowd was loaded for this band whose star is rising quickly, and exploded by the end of the song when singer Paul Janeway confidently came to center stage. Janeway did not disappoint for a minute this night, delivering passionate performance after passionate performance. He spent the majority of time striding along the very front of stage, sometimes on his knees while connecting with anyone in reach of his gaze.
The band cruised easily through all the songs from the recently released album Half the City. Sprinkled in were fresh takes on great covers like “Shake” by Sam Cooke, “99 1/2 Won’t Do” by Wilson Pickett and a very cool version of “Moonage Daydream” from David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The band closed the show with the Otis Redding classic “Try A Little Tenderness” complete with Janeway collapsing on the ground at the end of the song, exhausted and finished, only to get back and reprise the ending again and again, right out of Redding’s own playbook.