In October, the Alabama Shakes rolled into New York for the CMJ music festival, which, like South by Southwest, gives bands a chance to get seen by media, industry people and music fans. It was their first New York show, and they were scheduled to play only one set at the Bowery Ballroom, a high-profile venue on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The group, a four-piece rock and soul outfit fronted by Brittany Howard, who sings and plays guitar, had been touring as the openers for the Drive-By Truckers, and people were starting to notice, including NPR's Ann Powers, who gave the band a nod after seeing them play in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
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