"With talented Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard releasing her first solo material, this summer is off to a hot start for fans of Alabama music.
In addition to proven stars from the state like Howard and songsmith Jason Isbell - who’s been touring with Father John Misty and recording with Sheryl Crow - making national news, promising local music continues to bubble up here.
Below are 10 recently released songs to know, by bands and solo acts based in or from Alabama.
'The Ocean' Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds
Fairhope combo summons mystical-Americana vibes reminiscent of that Grammy-winning “Raising Sand” album Robert Plant and Alison Krauss did back in 2008."
"The Alabama foursome hits hard, too. Backed by Rick Hirsch (guitar), John Milham (drums), and John Keuler (bass), Thomas shines throughout the twelve tracks that appear on Honey’s Fury. The Rare Birds showcase their gritty chemistry, and Thomas effortlessly welcomes you into her turbulent yet gleefully inspiring world. The band truly is a rare combination of talent that works like a steady, well-oiled machine that won’t take no for an answer."
- Music & Mojitos
"Perfectly timed is the fattened notes & interplay of instruments on “Calling My Name.” Ms. Thomas asserts herself & the band supports her well. If today’s rock & roll burns the coal slow this effort is doused with starter fluid. Fiery like The Avett Brothers & The Mumfords. All good."
- Americana Highways
"Honey’s Fury delivers polished Americana, refined and elegantly sophisticated, along with the scrumptious violin and voice of Molly Thomas."
"A round bass line and glittering guitar accents inject the harmonics with intimacy and emotional commitment, especially evident on the stellar guitar solo, full of searing shadow-like hues."
- Rawckus Magazine
"Molly Thomas and The Rare Birds are purposeful. Every note and instrument choice serves the song in the best possible light.
I adore this album.
Molly's vocals are damn powerful and goosebumps worthy." - Viola Krouse
- Making a Scene
Alabama Kick Ass: Molly Thomas and the Rare Birds – “Calling My Name”
"WOW!!!!!! That’s all I can say. Take Melissa Ethridge and throw her in southern Alabama, and give her kick-ass tunes, and you get Molly Thomas and the Rare Birds. This is how Americana should sound; glistening guitars, pounding rhythm, bass riffs galore, and a beautiful voice that reaches out to the stratosphere. There is something Emmy-Lou Harrisish about Thomas and her band, comprised of Thomas on acoustic guitar and violin, Rick Hirsh on guitar, John Milham on drums, and John Keuler on bass. The four of them are all well acquainted with each other, and that makes an album about connections make so much sense. This is beautiful music. I’ve been listening non-stop." - Phil King
- Audio Fuzz
"Molly Thomas & the Rare Birds are premiering their brand-new song 'Sharona,' and its accompanying music video, exclusively for readers of The Boot. Press play above to hear the mournful, contemplative tune.
Despite partially sharing its name with the Knack's 1979 hit, 'Sharona' was actually inspired by a woman Thomas met. 'She'd fled from the dregs of New Orleans after [Hurricane] Katrina to Nashville, where I was living at the time," Thomas tells The Boot. "She had an immense impact on me, and all I wanted to do was take her home with me, hug her and help her get better.'
- The Boot
"Today, Wide Open Country is premiering the stunning "Tumbleweed," a cautionary tale that captures the despair of being in love with a rambler. Spacious and dreamlike, the song conjures up images of lonely travelers in a roadside diner somewhere in the desolate southwest."
- Wide Open Country
"The players match the sultry spirit of “I Wanna Live” with an irresistible bluesy churn as Thomas sings, “Got my best cotton dress on/ Stickin’ to my skin’/ Part of me is dressed for travelin’/ Part of me is dressed for sin.” In “Laura” Thomas indicts a woman who’s never measured up, but tempers that vivisection with encouragement that it’s not too late; that’s a tricky balance that the music buoys with the sunniness of ‘60s pop. “Thank You,” in which Thomas tenderly arranges the pieces of a broken marriage, becomes a semi-classical lullabye. In “Callin’ My Name,” the song that gives the album its title, the band brings chiming, pulsing rock energy to dreamlike poetry, creating a hallucinatory anthem."
- The Rogers Review
"Glide is thrilled to premiere “Calling My Name” (below) from Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds, a poetically graceful track with a rumbling rock enigma that recalls Patti Smith and Heartless Bastards. Thomas comes across as cross pollinator or rock history, combining the highly charged confessional and big hearted singer-songwriter rock of the 70’s."
- Glide magazine
Molly Thomas is unfiltered ‘south.’ She is the feel and the sound of the southern United States. In an America where food chains, homogenized broadcasting and department stores oppress the uniqueness of any time and place, Molly manages to sound untouched
and singular in her expression. She's vulnerable and stubborn while she honors the themes of loneliness, literature and that ethereal humidity that comes with the southern perspective.
Molly Thomas (Solo)
with Ryan Balthrop & Eric Erdman
Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds
Come Join Molly Thomas & The Rare Birds as they support their new record, Honey's Fury. Opening the show will be Amelia White