St. Paul the Soulful

by bobbysumms

Sainthood. Historians might remember 2014 as the Year of the Saints.

In Rome, Pope Francis has been busy canonizing Popes of yore. In America, a false saint and his merry men are producing some miracles so real your legs start moving when looking through a computer screen.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones of Birmingham, Alabama, have been busy touring all year, and their entire vibe is so infectious they leave nothing but devout followers in their wake, wanting to hear more, wanting to literally follow them wherever they go… reminiscent of a long-haired, soulful man from millenniums ago.

I don’t need to say much, the music speaks for itself and I can add absolutely no value, but it’s tough not to feel inspired after hearing these guys. They have so much damn fun playing music. Paul Janeway, lead singer, has the best moves in all of music—yes, better than Beyonce—he is dancing for himself, and no one else, and that, THAT is the best. He could be mistaken for an Alabama frat boy, but once he opens his mouth, OH LAWD! You believe. A doughy James Brown, with a liquid vibe—he fills any container he’s in, with nothing but soul. Look at the room they’re playing in. If you pause the music and look at the room, you may notice it’s a shredded, abandoned building… depressing. But once you press play, it may just be the happiest place in the world. That’s music. Quality music. Kurt Vonnegut once told an auditorium of college grads that if he were to die, he’d like his epitaph to read:

The only proof he needed of the existence of God was music.”


Beautiful. And the good news is, they’re playing a show as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors series in NYC August 10th… and it’s FREE. There is a God. And she/he is good. And just a little more from that Vonnegut speech.

The wonderful writer Albert Murray, who is a jazz historian among other things, told me that, during the era of slavery in this country, an atrocity from which we can never fully recover, the suicide rate per capita among slave owners was much higher than the suicide rate among slaves. Al Murray says he thinks this was because slaves had a way of dealing with depression, which their white owners did not. They could play the blues. He says something else which also sounds right to me. He says the blues can’t drive depression clear out of a house, but they can drive it into the corners of any room where they are being played.