The Alabama Shakes are a blues-rock band from Alabama, headed by the vocally formidable Brittany Howard.

Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard grew up writing lyrics and learning drums, bass, and guitar. As a teenager, she played in multiple bands, the most serious of which was Kerosene Swim Team, alongside Jonathan Passero and Owen Whitehurst. Joining with bassist Zac Cockrell and guitarist Heath Fogg, Howard and Whitehurst later went on to form The Shakes. The band’s first performance was at the Brick Deli & Tavern in Decatur, Alabama, and consisted of covers of Otis Redding, AC/DC, James Brown, and Led Zeppelin. The performance went well, and The Shakes continued playing weekends at sports bars and country dives while holding regular jobs during the week.

When a Los Angeles music blogger named Justin Gage found and posted an MP3 of the band’s song “You Ain’t Alone” in the summer of 2011, the group began to receive various offers from record labels and management companies. This led to the release of Alabama Shakes’ four-song self-titled EP, which brought the group a deal with ATO Records. At this point, the band was satisfied with their success, but had no idea what was to come.

Boys & Girls, released in 2012, debuted at number 16 on national charts as a digital release, eventually reaching number 8 in physical release. The band went on to open for Jack White of the White Stripes in Europe, and performed that summer at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. “Hold On,” a single from that album, was also named song of the year by Rolling Stone. At the 2013 Grammys, Alabama Shakes were nominated for Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance for “Hold On,” and Best Recording Package.

The band spent over a year working on their follow-up album, Sound & Color, which was released in 2015 to rave reviews. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and won three Grammy Awards, including the coveted Best Alternative Music Album. The band has not released a full-length album since Sound & Color, but won a Grammy for their performance of “Killer Diller Blues” in Bernard MacMahon’s acclaimed film The American Epic Sessions, recorded on the first electrical sound recording system from the 1920s.

Alabama Shakes still perform across the country and globe, and are often booked for private parties and corporate entertainment events.