For a band that started simply as a vehicle to record a couple of new songs, Bluesfest regulars St. Paul and the Broken Bones have built themselves an enviable live reputation as horn-filled keepers of the soul flame.
It wasn’t planned, it’s just in the DNA of people from their part of the world.
With his buddy and bass player Jesse Phillips, lead singer Paul Janeway started the now eight-piece band in his hometown of Florence Alabama in 2012. At first it was a means to record some songs they were writing, songs that were reflecting Janeway’s emergence into the wider world after a very strict Christian childhood.
He had kicked around in some local bands, always quietly confident he could sing, but with no expectations it could be a way to make his living. The first song they wrote was ‘Broken Bones and Pocket Change’, and, in part, it gave rise to their name. The saint title came a little later, as a gentle ribbing from Phillips because of Janeway being teetotal and still displaying all the wholesome attributes of his upbringing.
Janeway’s mother played in church and music was everywhere in the home, as long as it was gospel. Janeway sang in their church from the age of four and was immersed in this typical Southern life. Growing up, he had plans to be a preacher and that passion to deliver his message has remained central to his vocal stylings.
The subject matter may have changed and he may be content to deal with tonight rather than eternity these days but there is no mistaking the commitment to what’s been described as ‘non-stop showmanship’, every time he hits the stage.
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Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats with St Paul and The Broken Bones
Tuesday, April 10th 2023
The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Friday, April 13th 2023
Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
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Bluesfest Byron Bay