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Grit, elemental rhythm, tight-as-a-drumhead playing, and a profound depth of feeling: these are the promises of a great soul band. And St. Paul & The Broken Bones deliver on those promises. Front man Paul Janeway’s handle “St. Paul” is a wry allusion to the vocalist’s grounding in the church. Like many a legendary soul singer, Janeway, a native of the small town of Chelsea, Alabama, was raised on the gospel side, in a non-denominational, Pentecostal-leaning local church. Virtually no non-religious music could be heard in his devout household. Janeway says, “The only secular music that I heard at all was a ‘70s group called the Stylistics, and Sam Cooke. That was about it. The rest of it was all gospel music. When I was about 10 years old, I was groomed to be a minister. My goal in life until I was about 18 years old was to be a preacher.”

Half The City – vital, direct, emotionally affecting – presents the same engaged, high-voltage, in-the-pocket sound that St. Paul & The Broken Bones produce at their live dates, where Janeway’s extroverted performing style enraptures his audiences. “I’m going to be dancing, getting in the aisles, climbing on tables,” he says. “That’s just the way we do it. It really takes me back to church. There’s not a lot of difference. When I get on stage, it’s, ‘All right, it’s time to pour it on.’”

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