‘The real Southern soul roots of music’: Steve Cropper opens up on his favorite new band

Few are the legends with whom Steve Cropper hasn’t collaborated — from Otis Redding to Neil Young, from Peter Frampton to Sam and Dave, from Ringo Starr to Steve Winwood, from Jeff Beck to Wilson Pickett.

So, when he says he’s listening to a new voice, it’s got to be good, right?

Not that this information is an easy thing to draw out of the famously even-handed guitar-playing legend. “That’s the toughest question in the world,” Cropper tells WREG in Memphis, “because it sounds like I’m showing favoritism.”

Still, pressed on the issue, Cropper admits: “I really liked, a couple of years ago, watching the Alabama Shakes. Seeing their career, they made it big here, they made it big in Europe — and they’re still going. I’ve seen them live, and they’re awesome. They’re the real Southern soul roots of music that I grew up with. But there’s a lot of great ones. Justin Timberlake ain’t a slouch, either.”

Cropper memorably appeared with the Alabama Shakes in 2013, as part of President Obama’s In Performance at the White House series. Rolling Stone magazine described their 2012 debut Boys & Girls as “a set of impassioned originals with a Stax/Volt kick.”

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