New Music for Old Rockers – Staying High with Brittany Howard

It’s 1966. It’s the height of Motown. The AM airwaves are filled with hits from female Motown artists like Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, Diana Ross & the Supremes, the Marvelettes, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and of course … Brittany Howard with this great tune called “Stay High.”

That is one super-sweet video that tugs at your heartstrings until it pulls them right out of your body, leaving you heartstringless. Except, isn’t that Terry Crews from America’s Got Talent singing it? He wasn’t born yet in 1966. And how could Brittany Howard record this? She was born decades after 1966. And they look nothing alike.

brittany Howard terry crews

Brittany Howard is on the left and Terry Crews is on the right. Definitely NOT the same person. Neither alive in 1966. There is a simple explanation.

When I first heard “Stay High” by Brittany Howard, I just assumed that it was a Motown chart-topping hit from the 1960s that I had never heard before. It sounds like it would be, right? Instead, it is a new 2019 song with a super sweet, soulful, and silky Motown sound from the Alabama Shakes lead vocalist and guitar player, Brittany Howard. It is just not fair that one person has that much talent. And if you’re not familiar with Alabama Shakes, take a listen to “Hold On.”

I love the laid-back sound of “Stay High” and the staccato toy piano plinking giving it some depth and flow. The end result is a sound that can span generations. And of course, the vocals are incredible. If you don’t believe that vocal range can come from one person, here’s a video of the live session of “Stay High.”

Howard is also involved with other bands like Thunderbitch and Bermuda Triangle. Her debut solo album drops this week. It is titled Jaime, named after Howard’s deceased older sister who passed away from an eye disease that has also rendered Brittany partially blind. Why are my eyes leaking as I type? First hit release from Jaime is “Stay High.” I expect there will be more.

On a sad note, RIP to Ric Ocasek, the creative force behind the Cars. I enjoyed the Cars during their 80’s heyday. Not one of their bigger hits, “Candy-O” from the album of the same name and written by Ocasek is a fave of mine. It is dark, brooding, slightly dissonant, jarring, and I love to listen to it. I hope you do, too.