The Doctors and The Lawyers
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The Doctors and The Lawyers

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Jam


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The doctors are in: Wakarusa music festival to welcome Tuscaloosa student band The Doctors and the Lawyers"

The String Cheese Incident. Bassnectar. The Flaming Lips. The Doctors and The Lawyers. All four of these bands will perform at this year’s Wakarusa Music Festival, an annual four-day event held in Ozark, Ark. One of them, though, is not quite like the others.

The Doctors and The Lawyers, composed of five University of Alabama students, has joined The Avett Brothers, Slightly Stoopid, Mumford & Sons and more on the long list of bands who have graced Wakarusa’s official lineup.

“Our drummer [Jordan Kumler] and I went to Wakarusa last year,” said lead vocalist Evan Brooks, a senior majoring in financial planning. “The whole time, we were just like, ‘What if we played here? What do we need to do to play here next year?’”

Their answer soon came in the form of the Waka Winter Classic, a national competition designed to send bands to Wakarusa. Beginning in early January, the Waka Winter Classic tour hosted “battle of the bands”-esque competitions in 16 cities nationwide. An audience vote in each location decided which bands would perform at the 2014 Wakarusa Music Festival.

(See also "Rockin' the Haus: Local artists create underground music scene")

The Doctors and The Lawyers were the second out of five bands to perform Thursday, taking the stage after Birmingham-based True Blue. Following their set was Huntsville-based Post War, Decatur-based The Wheelers and Tuscaloosa-based Mother Funk.

“Because we were going second, I don’t know whether we had an advantage or disadvantage,” Brooks said. “There weren’t as many people at that point as there were towards the end of the night. But it was good because we kinda got it out of the way so we could watch everybody else.”

The Doctors and The Lawyers’s night began at about 4:30 p.m., when they arrived at Workplay to unload their equipment and complete a quick sound check. A few hours later, they took the stage in front of a crowd of about 60 people.

“I was excited [to go on],” said Kumler, a junior majoring in chemical engineering. “I was ready to get it over with, really. We had been practicing for a month and a half straight, just those songs.”

The band played a set of five original songs, including new releases “Heavy Breathing,” “Daria” and the soon-to-be-released “Callin’ Me.”

“We thought they’d be the most Waka-friendly,” Kumler said. “They’d match the best. They’re more jam-y than our other songs.”

To create a more Wakarusa jam-band vibe, the group played all five songs without pausing, seamlessly blending them into one continuous composition.

“We didn’t stop and then start a new song. We just went into another song,” Brooks said. “You can’t do that unless the song is in a similar key or makes sense musically to do that. We had to figure out little interludes to play in between the songs to make them fit together, like a giant puzzle.”

Brooks said performing the five songs continuously helped keep the audience engaged with the band’s music.

“There’s no space for [the audience] to stop and think,” Brooks said. “Right before they have their first thought, you’ve got another good song coming right in, and they don’t have time to question it. It just keeps you in the groove. I love it when bands do that.”

Due to a storm that hit northern Alabama on Thursday night, the crowd during The Doctors and The Lawyers’s set was smaller than anticipated.

“Literally right when we got off stage, the biggest part of [our] crowd arrived,” Brooks said. “So that was kind of a bummer, because we would have played for a much bigger crowd had the weather not set everybody back. It was good, though. Everybody I talked to said that was the best we’ve ever sounded.”

After a few nerve-wracking hours of listening to the other bands’ sets, the time arose for The Doctors and The Lawyers to learn their fate. The five sat together at a table, the announcer’s words dragging on. “And the band that will be representing Birmingham…”

Kumler said after watching the other bands perform, he hadn’t expected to win the contest, but they did. The announcer proclaimed The Doctors and The Lawyers winners of the coveted spot at Wakarusa.

“I was overwhelmed,” Kumler said. “I was shaking. I couldn’t even think about it.”In a few short months, The Doctors and The Lawyers will perform on Wakarusa’s Backwoods Stage, the same stage that hosted The Lumineers just two years ago. The band will also have the opportunity to perform an additional set on a brand new stage being built this summer, the Riverside Stage.

Performing at a festival like Wakarusa will expose The Doctors and The Lawyers to a larger and more receptive audience than the ones they play for in the Tuscaloosa bar scene.

“You’re playing for a bunch of people who came to hear music,” Brooks said. “You’re not playing for people who came to a bar to get drunk, and there just happens to be a good band playing.”

Besides performing at the Wakarusa, all five band members will receive artist passes, allowing them the opportunity to make valuable contacts in the music industry. Additionally, adding a performance at Wakarusa to the band’s resume could lead to future dates at other music festivals.

“Bands now, especially bands that are trying to get started, have to tour tirelessly,” Brooks said. “That’s the only way to make any money or make a name for yourself. You’re not gonna make much money selling songs on iTunes, so you pretty much just have to keep touring all the time.”

They realized how a Wakarusa performance could transform a band’s career, after listening to the set of 2013 Waka Winter Classic winner The Magic Beans at last year’s festival.

“One of my buddies kinda followed [The Magic Beans] before we got there, and they had 200 likes on Facebook,” Brooks said. “Then the weekend after they played at Wakarusa, they had 10,000 likes. Seriously what it can do for you is just mind-blowing. All you have to do is just put on a show that people want to hear.”

The band hasn’t yet set foot on stage at the festival, but Brooks and Kumler said they’re already looking ahead at the years to come.

“We’re gonna practice harder than we even did for the tryouts,” Brooks said. “The goal is to be invited back [next year]. When we get there, we’re gonna literally play every opportunity we get. We’re gonna try to volunteer and be helpful and positive so we’ll get invited back.”

The Doctors and The Lawyers will perform at the 2014 Wakarusa Music Festival, which takes place June 5-8 in Ozark, Ark. For more information, including ticket prices and the full lineup, visit - The Crimson White

"6 Must Watch Fan Videos From Wakarusa 2014"

Below is a small collection of videos shot by Wakarusa concert goers that we have been playing here at the TreeThugger office since we discovered them. Lots of great memories from that magical weekend at Mulberry Mountain have been stirred up while watching these, enjoy! -

"In 2015, The Best Music is from Alabama – From Muscle Shoals and Birmingham To Mobile"

From Muscle Shoals to Mobile, the country’s best music is coming from the state of Alabama. The music has always been here, but today it is different. Alabama bands are topping the Billboard charts in multiple genres and selling out shows across the country. Alabama is in the songs they sing, the tattoos on their arms, and the stickers on their guitars. It is on the shirts and hats they wear and the ones they sell. They are changing the image of Alabama to the rest of the world, and to itself. There is new pride in saying: “We saw them play here first.”

The pride in music seems new, but from W.C. Handy, Hank Williams, the Louvin Brothers, and Tammy Wynette to Emmylou Harris, Wilson Pickett, and Nat King Cole, Alabama has a deep musical heritage filled with soul. Trouble on Saturday night and church on Sunday morning. Real-life music straight from the heart and the gut when music was a ticket out of poverty or the only way to pass the time.

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Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
Today, Alabama soul music lives on in the new generations of musicians who grew up here and they are mixing soul with a variety of influences and making it popular again. The Alabama Shakes, discovered from a post in a music blog, stirred up a Southern soul revival that raised awareness of music in Alabama and lifted up other bands such as St. Paul and the Broken Bones, John and Jacob, Moon Taxi, Banditos, The Pollies, and Belle Adair.

“Alabama music is resonating with larger audiences,” says Scott Register, the voice of Birmingham music and the host of “Reg’s Coffee House” on Birmingham Mountain Radio. “There is an energy and synergy in the music community and people are working together instead of against each other. They are making soulful music that people can relate to. It is music inspired by Muscle Shoals and for whatever the reason, this is the time again for that music, and the best artists who are making it are from Alabama.”

St. Paul and the Broken Bones at Sloss Fest 2015 (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
Success is coming from all directions. In the spring and summer of 2015, Alabama bands topped the Billboard charts. Jason Isbell’s Something More than Free was number one on the rock, country, and folk album charts. Yelawolf ‘s Love Story topped Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums (Yelawolf is from Gadsden). The Alabama Shakes Sound & Color was number one on the Billboard 200.

At the same time, St. Paul and the Broken Bones played the major festivals and opened two shows for The Rolling Stones. Anderson East took off with his new album, Delilah, played on “Late Night with Seth Myers,” and opened for Brandi Carlile.

“There is a great movement here,” says East, a fast-rising soul singer from Athens, Alabama. “None of these bands are bullshit, they are just doing what they love to do. That is the spirit of why it works and that is the spirit of Alabama music. It is an exciting time to be a part of music because people aren’t complacent about what they listen to. Everything has already been hit on and now and it is a word game and whoever believes what they are saying has a better chance of being heard. Someone once said that a great song makes everyone’s life interesting. There is nothing that makes me feel more alive than to hear a good song.”

Anderson East (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
“I do A&R that scouts music talent, and five years ago if I told someone I had an Alabama artist, they wouldn’t be interested,” Register says. “Now I mention an artist is from Alabama and they want to know all about them. The perfect storm that has been generating for years is finally starting to hit.”

A major wave of that storm hit the whole state in 2013, the year the Alabama Shakes were nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Performance and played the next week on Saturday Night Live. Jason Isbell released Southeastern, one of the best albums of that year. His songwriting and story of sobriety made him a favorite of every major media outlet, including The New York Times and NPR’s Fresh Air. The Civil Wars released their final album, The Civil Wars.

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Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
The year 2013 was the start of the popular Americana bands The Mulligan Brothers and Willie Sugarcapps and the release of their self-titled debut albums. It was also the year that Birmingham Mountain Radio went on the air and Single Lock Records was started by Ben Tanner, keyboard player for the Alabama Shakes, John Paul White of The Civil Wars, and Will Trapp.

Tanner grew up in Florence, Alabama, and returned home after college for recording experience at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals. He planned to move to New York City or Nashville, but started Single Lock Records and settled down in Florence. He recorded Half the City, the debut album for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, in January 2013, before the band had a manager or a booking agent and lead singer Paul Janeway was still a bank teller and accounting student. The album has sold more than 100,000 copies (Soundscan).

The documentary Muscle Shoals was released in 2013, and showed the world the stories and musicians behind the classic songs that Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Percy Sledge, Traffic, The Rolling Stones, and Wilson Pickett recorded in Muscle Shoals in the ’60s and ’70s. The film revitalized recording and production in Muscle Shoals and still attracts tourists to the area.

From Muscle Shoals to Mobile, Alabama music is all genres: soul, jazz, hip-hop, Southern rock, blues, and country. Musicians say the common thread is music from the heart with a heavy bass and drum.

“It doesn’t matter if it is it is straight ahead jazz, rock, or soul, there is always a heavy groove tucked somewhere like a backbeat,” says Mac Kramer, drummer for the band Willie and the Giant. Kramer grew up in Birmingham. “The rhythm is big and that has been a big influence. Alabama has its own way of doing the fat backbeat stuff. It is a southern groove that no one does the same way.”

Listen to The Southern Rambler’s Alabama Music playlist of 110 songs from 59 bands and singers from Alabama

Or listen on Apple Music / iTunes.

Anderson East (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
Muscle Shoals. Birmingham. Mobile. Each region has its own sound and music scene with waves of past success.

In the Northwest corner of Alabama, the legacy of Muscle Shoals lives on with respect and reverence for songs and songwriting as players and producers give care to the song to make it the best it can be.

“The seeds that were planted 10 or 15 years ago started coming to fruition over the last few years,” says Tanner. “People started playing in bands and taking music seriously. The Old Town Tavern in Sheffield was a dive bar but it was a place you could play original music and a lot of bands started up here because of that place. I got a lot of those bands to record for cheap at FAME because I was trying to learn. We were feeding off each other and working in side projects together. We also have players from the older generation such as David Hood who are encouraging and supportive and are showing us how to do it. We have the best players in the world right here.”

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Ben Tanner playing with the Alabama Shakes at the Wharf (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
In Birmingham, music is more alternative and experimental with hop-hop and soul.

In the ‘90s, Birmingham’s Verbena, Remy Zero and Little Red Rocket signed with major record labels and Remy Zero’s “Save Me” was the theme song for the television show “Smallville.” City Stages was one of the best music festivals in the South, and Birmingham singers dominated the early years of American Idol. Birmingham music had flashes of attention and success and the Dexateens and the late Topper Price deserve more national recognition, but today the Magic City is the hottest spot in the state for producing a diversity of bands that are breaking out of Alabama.

“We left Birmingham because there are more opportunities in Nashville, but we moved away and six months later Birmingham became the coolest version of itself,” says Jon Poor, lead guitarist of Willie and the Giant and a co-founder of Birmingham’s Secret Stages music festival. “If Birmingham music was then what it is now, I might have made a different decision. Now Birmingham feels like you can get there from here. It is getting to the point where being from here gives you some legitimacy and people listen to what you have to say.”

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Jon Poor of Willie and the Giant at Callaghan’s (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
On the coast, there is singer-songwriter and original music culture that began more than 30 years ago at the Flora-Bama and the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. The coast was the home of Jimmy Buffett and the band Wet Willie, and music is still shaped by the bay and the beach. Lyrics and melodies matter at listening venues such as The Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm, The Listening Room, and soon The Steeple in a renovated church in downtown Mobile. Callaghan’s is the favorite place to play for every rising band touring through the South.

“There is a great support for music on the coast. Our music is diverse, but you can still feel the heat, the humidity, and the Gulf of Mexico in all of it,” says Ross Newell, lead singer of The Mulligan Brothers from Mobile. “You can play here seven nights a week and there is a great group of listeners who go to the shows and that means you will be booked for another night. They listen close enough to have an opinion and let you know what they love, even if they are too polite to tell you what they hate. Instant feedback is important to know how the song is perceived because as the writer, I hear the song differently.

“We are lucky to have music scenes across Alabama that are a close enough drive for regular shows,” Newell says. “Building fan bases across Alabama is a big step before you start touring the country. Everywhere in Alabama feels like home.”

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Ross Newell Photo by Catt Sirten
“There has always been music in Alabama and it is our heritage, but there was a period when people weren’t listening. If we played loud enough, maybe someone may get to know a song,” says Will Kimbrough who grew up in Mobile and played with the popular band Will and the Bushmen for nine years. Kimbrough is now one of the top players in Nashville and is a part of the Gulf Coast supergroup Willie Sugarcapps with Grayson Capps, Corky Hughes, and Sugarcane Jane.

“It is different now because people are paying attention to the songs and looking for someone who sings what they like,” says Kimbrough. “The internet has made music much more accessible and musicians no longer have to sign with a record label or leave Alabama and go to Nashville, Memphis, or New York to be heard.”

“In the Telluride days, there were few clubs to play in Alabama and fewer festivals,” says Rick Carter of the longtime popular Alabama bands Telluride and Rollin’ in the Hay. He also has Rick Carter Radio, an internet radio station that only plays music from Alabama. “Now the Hangout Festival and Sloss Fest are bringing national exposure to our music.”

Once banned and prohibited in many counties in Alabama, alcohol is another reason for the growth in music. Clubs opened as counties went from dry to wet and gave musicians a place to play. “These venues started generating bands and made it possible for musicians to stay here and learn their trade,” says Dick Cooper, curator of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He co-produced the Drive-By Truckers iconic breakthrough album, Southern Rock Opera, and introduced Patterson Hood and Jason Isbell when they were both crashing on couches at his house. Today young musicians get experience, encouragement, and exposure playing at Cooper’s house parties.

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The Drive-By Truckers (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
“No one springs out of the womb knowing how to be a musician or a recording engineer,” says Cooper. “Once we had clubs, bands had a place to play a few nights a week and made enough money to buy the amps or guitars they needed. You have to have a place to learn and the business to support it. Play in a club, build an audience, and build a career.”

Clubs build music careers, but music venues, along with restaurants and breweries, are also revitalizing downtowns in Florence, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Mobile. “The restaurant scene is booming and that has helped reinvigorate the music scene,” says Register. “The alcohol content laws changed and breweries are booming too. Music, food, and beer are drawing people downtown and creating a lifestyle that is starting to keep talented young people in the state. It’s not a coincidence these are happening at the same time.”

Locally-owned venues, recording studios, record stores, record labels, and radio stations such as 92ZEW in Mobile are building an infrastructure for developing music and giving musicians a chance make it in Alabama.

“A band can’t get beyond the state line without the gigs and support that gives them the confidence to stay with it,” says Kimbrough. “We have that now because Alabama people are making private investments and starting businesses in their own music scenes such as Anthony Crawford and Jeff Zimmer who recently started their own record label, Baldwin County Public Records.”

Will Kimbrough (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
The music that the world listens to and critics praise comes from the state that is still struggling with its past and its future. “Great art comes out of times and scenes when the environment is stifling,” says Register. “People need inspiration. Sometimes being told they have to keep things the way they are inspires great art. Artistic people don’t like being put in a box or told how to live. They want to question authority and go against social mores. They don’t think the way the masses think.”

Alabam’a political environment might not improve, but the music will. As good as the music is today, it is just getting started. “I think we are on the front end of this,” says Register. “The bands we know that will be breaking still haven’t broken. They are still far from being arena bands, but they are working that way. If one of them breaks through, it is a total positive for our state.

“Bands are already drawing positive attention to Alabama and showing that it is not all of the negative crap people have heard the past 50 years,” says Register. “When our musicians walk onto stages across the country and say they are from Alabama, they are saying ‘We are from Alabama and we are as good as you’.”

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Alabama Shakes at The Wharf (Photo by Michelle Stancil)
Before the Alabama bands play arenas and festivals, or climb the charts and win awards, they belong to us, the local fans. We see them working day jobs and trying out their songs in local dive bars at night. Working up to bigger clubs, an extra pedal, a new guitar, a self-produced EP, or new clothes that fit the image of their music. We are the first to fill their tip jars and buy their t-shirts and their CDs.

Our bands tell our stories and sing about the places we know. Their songs become our songs. The songs we sing and the ones we share. The songs that make us feel alive. As we watch Alabama bands come together, we know we are supporting something special and that makes us special too.

We saw them play here first. - The Southern Rambler


Still working on that hot first release.



The Doctors and The Lawyers is an electro-jam-funk band founded in early September of 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The group consists of five members, formed through relationships made by random freshman dorm placement and developed because of each members collective musical vision. From The Black Keys to Papadosio, Moon Taxi to Led Zeppelin, the musical influences of the group continue to expand and evolve just as fluidly as the sound of the groups original material.

With the added surprises improvisational music breaks throughout their shows, The Doctors and The Lawyers never puts on the same performance twice. The group engages its audience by both recognizing and appreciating the diversity of musical preferences that can be present in large crowds. Though the band got its name because the members are currently studying to become doctors, lawyers, and the like, their true passion lies in the collaboration and creation of a truly unique music experience.

Band Members