Birmingham band returns for new album

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Birmingham band returns for new album

CW/ Scarlet Van Meter

CW/ Scarlet Van Meter

CW/ Scarlet Van Meter

CW/ Scarlet Van Meter

Desi Gillespie, Staff Writer

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An hour and a half after the doors opened, the crowd was buzzing, the venue was filled and the audience was waiting for its performers. Finally, the band appeared amid fog and brightly colored LEDs. Out walked Paul Janeway, sequined head to toe in a glittery gospel choir robe. The show had arrived.

Friday, Birmingham’s own St. Paul & the Broken Bones’ released its third studio album, “Young Sick Camellia.” The band kicked off its international album tour in Tuscaloosa with a signing at OZ Records the afternoon of the release. That evening, they performed their first live set of the tour at Druid City Music Hall before traveling to Birmingham on Saturday.

OZ Records owner Jason Patton spoke on the significance of the band beginning their tour in Tuscaloosa.

“This is the second time we’ve had them in the store the day their album was released,” Patton said. “This is a really big deal. They want to give back to the community; this is them coming to us and saying, ‘Hey can we do this?’ It’s huge.”

The signing at OZ Records is only one of four such events for “Young Sick Camellia.” Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas are among the cities on the international tour.

The band started in Birmingham in 2012 when lead singer Paul Janeway and bassist Jesse Philips assembled a band to record the EP, “Greetings from St. Paul and the Broken Bones.” From there, they began touring and released their first album, “Half City,” which earned critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, NPR and Paste magazine. The band began touring internationally as their first album reached number 62 on the Billboard 200 charts.

At Friday’s event, fans walked down a table where the entirety of St. Paul and the Broken Bones was seated, passing vinyls and CDs to be signed by each member. Local friends and new fans alike interacted with Janeway and other band members in the relaxed atmosphere of the store. Rather than the frenzied feeling that one might expect from a national artist’s signing, the event felt like a joyful homecoming.

Strong impressions of home permeate “Young Sick Camellia,” with the soul of the album being recognizably local. The lead single, “Apollo,” was lauded by Rolling Stone and NPR for its summer-funk sound, garnering 800,000 Spotify streams within its first month and a half.

Renowned for their live performances, St. Paul and the Broken Bones opened its fall tour at Druid City Music Hall Friday night. The majority of songs performed were from its new album, along with several fan favorites from its discography. Among them was its most popular song “Flow With It,” and “Grass is Greener” and “Mighty Like a River.”

“It was fantastic, incredibly well done,” said JJ McGrady, a sophomore majoring in public relations. “They made everyone feel involved in the show.”

That statement was seconded by Rebecca Kilpatrick, a sophomore majoring in special education.

“The venue was really personable,” Kilpatrick said. “Paul is a great performer, keeping it classy while not taking himself too seriously.”

After closing with the personal last track of “Young Sick Camellia,” St. Paul & the Broken Bones returned with a two song encore of “Call Me” and their trademark “Broken Bones.”

St. Paul & the Broken Bones’ tour will take them coast to coast through October. The “Young Sick Camellia” tour will end in Europe this November with 17 shows in 8 countries.

At the record signing, Janeway spoke about the gravity of beginning at home.

“I think it’s important to start [the tour] here; this is where we did the first record,” Janeway said, “We live in Birmingham, and it’s just important to me, it’s where we’re from.”

“Young Sick Camellia” is available on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and at your local record store. For future show dates and news, visit