St. Paul & the Broken Bones are from Alabama. They are not bluegrass or country. There is no banjo in the band. The lead singer looks like a nerdy white guy, but they make some of the most groovy, swoony soul music you can imagine. I’ve seen this band a few times before, the first at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass visiting Jenn in San Francisco and they made an impression. While this was a Waterloo Records in-store show, on a tiny stage with a limited sound system, they still are a great sounding band who brings it when they take the stage, any stage.
In the video, Paul Janeway, the lead vocalist decides to climb up and stand on the small stage railing. I am pretty sure if John, the record store owner, were there, he would have had a stroke but Paul got away with it “without any broken bones” (said the manager on duty after the show). It was intimate, fun, and soulful and I am so grateful to see them in this way but if you have a chance, go see this band on the big stage where Paul and the Broken Bones are not limited by a tiny stage and shaky railing, where the leisure suits and fancy shoes channel James Brown and something completely beautiful and unexpected from Alabama white boys.
More from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert: