Paul Janeway, vocalist of Alabama band St Paul and the Broken Bones, performing at Bluesfest 2016.
Paul Janeway, vocalist of Alabama band St Paul and the Broken Bones, performing at Bluesfest 2016. Lyn Mccarthy

Alabama band still shocked by Bluesfest success

DRAMATIC, vocally gifted and totally entertaining, Paul Janeway from St Paul and the Broken Bones became one of the most talked about acts at Bluesfest 2016.

He is also quite hard to catch.

The band disappeared into the Byron Bay hinterland during their stay in the Northern Rivers, to enjoy a well-deserved break swimming at a local waterfall.

After gigs in Melbourne and Sydney, as part of their first ever Australian visit, the Alabama band did not hide their surprise at the warm welcome from local audiences.

Speaking from the US, just arrived back fro Australia, frontman Paul Janeway reflected on their Byron Bay experience.

Congrats on a great introduction to Bluesfest. Did you expect such a success? To be honest the first night you looked very surprised.

We were certainly surprised by the response.

It was our first trip to Australia and I didn't think anybody would know a thing about us.

I was hoping the crowds would grow each show but we had great response from the first show to the last show. 

What is the music-making process like for the band?

I find you can't force the creative process so when you book time sometimes nothing super productive comes of it.

We have written songs in a variety of ways.

Ones have been written by a voice memo on a phone to everyone sitting in a room hashing it out. 

Do you have any backstage or touring anecdotes you can share with us?

We have slowly realized we have to be the most uncool band backstage around.

The backstage of festivals is sometimes like the lunchroom in grade school.

One of my favorite examples of this for us is the backstage of a French festival we played. It was a really hot day and there were a ton of bands there.

I lost count of the leather jackets and blue jeans I saw backstage. It was way too hot for that. 

Meanwhile, some of our fellas were in the shade with no shirts, cutoff blue jean shorts blaring ZZ Top while drinking their beers. Sometimes the Alabama just comes out too much. 

Is there any theme across or inspiration for Half the City, your latest album, you can acknowledge?

We were definitely inspired by the place we recorded it in.

Muscle Shoals was a big influence on Half the City.

We recorded live to tape and took the best takes. It was recording like car was chasing you through the streets. It didn't have time to think to much you just went on instinct. 

Will you guys come back to Australia soon?

If it is up to us we will be back as soon as we can.

Everybody was so kind and the shows were so great. I hope to be back in 2017 as we are releasing our new record within 2016.