With frenetic urgency, our Pride Song of the Day, “History Repeats,” the lead single from the brilliant Brittany Howard’s 2019 solo debut album, Jamie, captures the heart-pounding, anxiety-inducing energy that pulses through our veins when we stand face to face with that which has held us down, time and time again, and calls us to rise above.
Howard, the 5x Grammy Award winner erupted onto the rock n’ roll scene in 2012 with the release of Alabama Shakes’ swampy and sweaty legendary debut, Boys & Girls. Over the past decade, her gritty, soaring, and soulful vocal prowess - which sits somewhere between Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, and Prince - has delivered some of the most soul-stirring vocal performances put to record. And after the smash success of her two records with Alabama Shakes, Howard’s genre-bending, gravity defying and award winning solo debut - Jamie, named after the beloved sister she lost to retinoblastoma at just 13 years of age - was widely praised by critics across the board, and stands as one of the most unique and beautifully diverse albums recorded in recent years.
Publicly out as a lesbian since age 25, Howard married Jesse Lafser, her partner and bandmate in the Bermuda Triangle - a side project they share in together - in 2018. Daughter of a junk-yard owner, growing up poor, queer and biracial (her mother being of English and Irish ancestry and her father is African-American) in Athens, Alabama brought with it tremendous challenges. But music was always there. And it was free. Howard would play with her sister and other family, pulling together whatever they could round up, playing and singing with unabashed passion and vigor - even if Brittany’s drumming with was a spoon on pots and pans.
Howard’s music is pure passion. It drips heavily from every phrase and word. It soars with every howl and scream. And it is this unbridled passion that has so deeply moved fans from the stage and on the record that has won Howard such universal acclaim. It is as if every drop of blood, sweat, and tears that dropped to the soil in Athens, as she honed her craft and pushed to overcome the most overwhelming of odds and heartbreaking challenges, infuses every bar and chord of her music.
Like so many of her tracks, this passion is the driving force behind, “History Repeats,” which manages to tap into both the most personal and universal human predicaments all at once.
Here we are again.
We don’t want to be here again.
We’ve seen this movie before. All too often…
So what now?
Do we have what it takes?
Can we stop making the same mistakes?
History marches on, and there’s nothing new under the sun.
But maybe… just maybe… we have what it takes to break the cycle.
If Brittany’s story is any indicator, it seems there is hope. History doesn’t quit, but with each time around, we get a little wiser. We get a little stronger. We see it coming from a little further away. And so we keep on.
And it is that spirit, the spirit, the courage, the strength, to keep on that shines so brightly in the beautiful Queen that is Brittany Howard. She gives us hope, in the midst of the chaotic world that just don’t quit that
We can do this.
It may be hard. It may be messy. But we’ve got this.
You’ve got this.
This Pride Month, we hope that these songs of resilience and steadfastness, from Brittany and so many other gorgeous queer artists, icons and allies just like her, that you will find the strength and hope to go at it again. Another moment. Day. Week. Year.
Because we got this. Pride says we got this.
Make sure to catch all of Brittany’s incredible discography on your preferred music streaming provider, and snag a copy of the Grammy-winning Jamie from your favorite local, independent record store!
Much love, all.
Jonathan Bristow - Ascent Creator & Director.
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