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Want some more free music?

ATO sampler

Fifteen new songs from ATO Records releases, including Alabama Shakes, Allen Stone, Trey Anastasio and more, available as a free download at Who doesn’t love free?

Free MTV Sampler at Amazon MP3 feat. Alabama Shakes, Jenny O., Jim James, Kate Earl and more

COURTESY OF ARTISTS.MTV & ‘stache media:
Compilation includes music from Alabama Shakes, Allen Stone, Jenny O.,
Jim James, Kate Earl, Kodaline, The Bronx and more


There are very few things better than free music, especially when combining rising talent and artist discovery. The Artists.MTV 15-track sampler features songs from a heap of talented artists that you should know: Everest, The Bronx, Alabama Shakes, Allen Stone, Jim James, Two Gallants, Stars, Alberta Cross, Mother Mother, Paul Kelly, On the Fifty, Jenny O., Samantha Crain, Kate Earl and Kodaline. The Artists.MTV sampler is available now for free download on Amazon MP3.

Track Listing:
Everest/Into the Grey
The Bronx/Youth Wasted
Alabama Shakes/Hold On
Allen Stone/Satisfaction
Jim James/A New Life
Two Gallants/My Love Won’t Wait
Stars/Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It
Alberta Cross/Money for the Weekend (Pocket Full of Shame)
Mother Mother/Bit By Bit
Paul Kelly/When a Woman Loves a Man
On the Fifty/The Future
Jenny O./Good Love
Samantha Crain/Never Going Back
Kate Earl/One Woman Army
Kodaline/All I Want


Artists.MTV is the first cross-brand digital platform for artists around the world to claim and control their artist expression across MTV, VH1 and CMT networks.

An artist’s presence is fractured across the web on numerous sites. gives fans the authentic voice of artists in one immersive platform, inviting fans to discover and explore their next favorite act.

The new Artists.MTV is fully mobile and tablet optimized with intelligent responsive design, plus a stand alone app for fans to connect with 1M+ artists from their pockets. Visit online at

The best music of 2012

This has been a pretty good year for music fans, whether you’re into rock, pop, or country. Below are ten of my personal favorites (in alphabetical order) that have hit the store shelves in the past twelve months…

Best albums, best song on the album
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls, “Hold On”
Flo Rida – Wild Ones, “Good Feeling”
Jim Avett – Second Chance, “Pictures in the Attic”
KISS – Monster, “Back to the Stone Age”
Lynch Mob – Sound Mountan Sessions, “Slow Drag”
Old Crow Medicine Show – Carry Me Back, “Ain’t It Enough”
Shooter Jennings – Family Man, “The Deed & The Dollar”
The Steel Wheels – Lay Down, Lay Low, “Rain in the Valley”
Two Gallants – The Bloom and the Blight, “My Love Won’t Wait”
Van Halen – A Different Kind of Truth, “Blood and Fire”

I didn’t have time to check out the full releases of every artist from this past year, and there were other records that didn’t measure up to that “hit play and forget the skip button” status. Here are a few songs from those categories. Download the MP3s for these tracks…

Best songs on other albums
Allen Stone – “Sleep”
Alberta Cross – “Money for the Weekend (Pocket Full of Shame)”
Bang Tango – “Our Way”
Hank Williams Jr. – “We Don’t Apologize For America”
Psy – “Gangnam Style”

I also caught up on a few 2011 releases during the past year. Here are five titles I missed when they were first released; check them out, if you are so inclined…

2011 albums, songs
JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound – Want More, “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”
Primus – Green Naugahyde, “Lee Van Cleef”
Umphrey’s McGee – Death By Stereo, “Booth Love”
Various Artists – This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, “All He Wants is You” by Shawn Colvin
Wood Brothers – Smoke Ring Halo, “When I Was Young”

Finally, Awolnation‘s “Kill Your Heroes” has been in heavy rotation on a new Cincinnati radio station for a while, and it’s a very catchy tune…

TWJ 2012: Brittany Howard

One of the best new bands on the planet? I vote yes! Alabama Shakes is a fantastic R&B outfit that plays with an enormous amount of soul and passion. Lead singer Brittany Howard has got some major pipes and I love hearing her wail on record; I can only imagine how much more powerful she is in concert.

Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard

Large photo credit: Rahav Segev / The Boston Globe
Inset photo credit: MTV Hive

Purchase Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls.

Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls (2012)

Alabama Shakes

Alabama Shakes
Boys & Girls
ATO Records, 2012
39 minutes

Cautious optimism seems to be the attitude many critics are taking toward the new band Alabama Shakes. The band is fronted by Brittany Howard, who brings to mind Janis Joplin, Etta James, and Aretha Franklin almost simultaneously. While the sound is firmly rooted in the past and could easily be mistaken for a long-lost gem from the 1970s with a cursory listen, there is an underlying vibe that is undeniably contemporary. Boys & Girls is a beautiful blend of traditional blues, powerful soul, and classic rock with modern sensibility.

The album opener, “Hold On,” is an earworm that might get stuck in your head for days, but you won’t regret it. The band continues to shine deep into the album; “Rise To The Sun” and “Heartbreaker” are fantastic cuts. “Be Mine” would be the best song on the album if it weren’t for one unnecessary profanity. The weakest track is “Goin’ To The Party,” not quite fitting in with the rest of the recording.

By all accounts, Boys & Girls is a subdued performance compared to the live show. If true, an Alabama Shakes concert must be a spectacular experience. Check out their tour dates and make plans to see these rising stars.

1. Hold On
2. I Found You
3. Hang Loose
4. Rise To The Sun
5. You Ain’t Alone
6. Goin’ To The Party
7. Heartbreaker
8. Boys & Girls
9. Be Mine
10. I Ain’t The Same
11. On Your Way

Watch the video for “Hold On” below:

Learn more about Alabama Shakes.

Learn more about ATO Records.

Purchase Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls.

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