It’s New Year’s Eve 2015. My girlfriend and I are sitting on the stools in front of the upstairs bar at the 9:30 Club, knocking back shots of Bulliet rye, waiting on the main act.
Paul Janeway, a heavy set, nerdy, white guy dressed in a white oxford tails out with thick framed glasses, strides purposely out on the stage, a full horn section trailing in his wake.
Guitar riffs wail and horns sound. “This ain’t the heart / That I thought I knew / This ain’t the party / That I found with you,” wails Janeway, front man for St. Paul & The Broken Bones. As the he sings the chorus, “I need you to call me / I need you to hear you sweetheart,” it is as if Ottis Redding’s spirit had seized control of his voice carrying the audience back to Alabama’s Muscle Shoals Studio.
Janeway and his bandmates return to DC this coming Sunday for a stand at The Anthem. “Young Sick Camellia,” their new album, combining social commentary reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and funky riffs that would make Sly Stone proud, is a neo-soul tour de force.
Don’t miss this show.