Nashville band enchants Tuscaloosa soul fans


CW / Grace Walraven

Libby Foster | @libithafoster, Contributing Writer

The band came out dancing under blue and red lights. The crowd screamed for a moment, but their shrieks quickly turned to soft smiles as The Brook and the Bluff’s show began. 

The Birmingham-born and Nashville-based band didn’t waste time with an introduction on Saturday night. They began quickly with “Masks” and found the crowd already singing along. As the set went on, the audience grew even more involved. They erupted during the chorus of “Shelby” while lead guitarist Alec Bolton’s solo reached a fever pitch. 

The band seemingly worked as a single instrument while highlighting each member’s talent: John Canada’s drums, Fred Lankford’s bass, Alec Bolton’s guitar and Joseph Settine’s vocals. 

The Brook and The Bluff go on tour to connect with their audience, and Tuscaloosa did not disappoint. 

“To hear people sing songs you’ve created is the most fulfilling feeling I’ve ever experienced,” said Settine. “It’s an overwhelming feeling of good.” 

The crowd in Druid City Music Hall mirrored every one of Settine’s mesmerizing dance moves. He had twirled, twisted and dropped it low with the audience by the time the third song started. 

The crowd became a choir, echoing Settine during “Don’t Go Slippin.’” The audience caught on to the new release’s chorus and were able to sing it by the time the bridge had finished. 

“I always get really inspired by making that connection that doesn’t come from words,” Lankford said. “It’s inexplicable but totally understood.” 

The band and the crowd continued to play a game of call-and-response throughout the night. Settine screamed, “Ooh,” and the crowd said it louder, with the venue echoing laughter in the aftermath. 

Kevin Hoseith, a junior majoring in operations management, described Settine’s presence as “buttery sweet.” 

The sugar rush crescendoed during “Rush.” Fans’ hands moved with the band’s beat under purple lights. Students leaned over the metal railing and created a circle of jazz hands around Alec Bolton during another one of his impressive guitar solos. 

Taylor Brown, a senior majoring in biology, felt that Bolton’s soulful instrumentation makes the band distinctly Southern. She was glad the band has remained true to its roots despite their recent success. Band members agreed with Brown’s assessment.

“We have an overall warmth to our sound that is Southern,” Settine said. 

The band paid homage to their warm acoustic roots as they hung up their guitars and circled around a vintage microphone. The band’s stripped-down talent was able to shine during the acoustic section of the night. Settine’s voice and presence grew during a Beach Boys cover. Though Settine remained the lead singer, each band member contributed to the acoustic harmony. 

The three-song acoustic portion of the night ended with “Father McKenzie,” a personal favorite of Settine’s. Though the song was originally based on a Beatles song, Settine realized its lyrics were a reflection of his own life during the writing process. Settine, the principal songwriter of the group, sang each note like it was personal. 

The band transitioned back to its infectious soul-rock sound as the show neared its end. 

Settine had the crowd dancing a two-step during “Off the Lawn.” Settine, an Auburn grad, laughed and exclaimed, “Roll Tide!”

Though The Brook and The Bluff have played in Tuscaloosa before, it had never been on this scale or with this reception. 

“We’ve come a long way from Heat Pizza, and we’re gonna show it,” Bolton said before the show.