Watch David Letterman Go Bonkers for This Southern Band

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Posted January 15, 2015 by J Matthew Cobb in News
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The late show king shows his admiration for the next big thing in music

For those who think that David Letterman never acts like a suburban child running loose in a GameStop, think again.

He’s done it before. And before. And before again.

But that’s not to say he’s ever acted like he did when Birmingham’s St. Paul and the Broken Bones arrived on the set of his late night show at the historic Ed Sullivan Theatre this week.

Before the band could play a single note [see video below], Letterman rambled for two minutes about them getting ready, and taking off like a rocket. “The first time I heard this song, I was screaming ’til I cried,” he said. “But if I don’t get that, I’m gonna stop the show and we’ll do it over.” The hyper PR gravy machine was in full force that night as the soon-to-retire late show king raved about their music.

“We tried to get you for a gig. We know who you guys are,” Letterman proclaimed. “You know I’m retiring soon, so do it for me.”

The only thing Paul Janeway, the band’s frontman, could do was grin and laugh in excess.

And like Letterman’s prediction, the Alabama-based band took off like a rocket. On their soulful Wilson Pickett-inspired “Call Me,” Janeway stormed the stage, running towards the audience and had the filming crew of the show on high alert. Anyone who witnessed them by television had to have experienced that Beatles-on-Sullivan feeling. This was just that epic. It was so epic that Letterman asked the band to give them an encore.

Although this had been the band’s first time on Letterman, they are far from being novices. The band has won high praises from Rolling Stone, NPR, Paste Magazine (and HiFiand has wowed crowds at a number of music festivals like Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Hangout. This year, they will even take the stage at Coachella this year.

And if you’re wondering why we dismissed “Call Me” from our Top 45 Singles of 2014. It almost made a landing. Here was my little plug:

As if Otis Redding was called to a studio band session at Muscle Shoals, Broken Bones frontman Paul Janeway captures that same energy on this Southern soul number. Inside, he goes on an emotional spree, demanding his girl to “pick up that telephone.” He’s surrounded by a complimentary brass section and a neat instrumental breakdown dating back to classic Sam & Dave records. It’s not all that innovative, but it feels good to hear the spunky Janeway take off on such a nostalgic tune.

But it didn’t make the list because…well…it’s a good song, but not great. When performed live, it finds its magic. It’s one of those soulful jams you have to witness in person. With Janeway running around like an adrenaline-pumped Pokemon figure. Thankfully, the States got a chance to see that on TV.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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