The episode was filmed on Howard’s birthday (October 2), according to Rolling Stone, and it captures Howard’s near-palpable spirit about as well as could be possible on video. On Grammy-nominated single Don’t Wanna Fight, the bandleader puts her soulful passion on her sleeve. On Gimme All Your Love, she shows that she’s capable of an anthemic performance. And on Gemini, she shows her roots as an electric, rockin’ singer/songwriter.
Bandleader Howard explained to Rolling Stone this year that while the group’s debut was made in hopes of being a “real band,” making Sound & Color was a very different, daunting experience. “We could do anything we wanted — but I started thinking, ‘Maybe I should make a record like the first one, because that’s what people liked.’ I had a lot of trouble doing that. So I just did what I was interested in.”
Alabama Shakes, which formed in 2009, developed in the Nashville scene and broke out on the strength of a four-song self-titled EP in 2011. Boys & Girls, the group’s 2012 debut full-length, came out to positive reviews — and commercial success (to the tune of more than 700,000 albums sold) with the help of rock single Hold On.
Alabama Shakes shares the hour-long Austin City Limits special with L.A. R&B group Vintage Trouble. Other upcoming ACL specials on PBS include one featuring Kendrick Lamar (January 9), and a Ryan Adams and Shakey Graves co-feature (January 16).