Here's a question: what do Russell Crowe, Robert Plant, Jack White and David Byrne all have in common?

Incredible talent, fame and money is the obvious response, but the answer is that all four count themselves as part of the growing legion of Alabama Shakes fans, the Southern American four-piece who spent 2012 spreading their bourbon-soaked, radio-friendly blues-rock around the world to ever growing acclaim.

Drummer Steve Johnson can scarcely believe the year he's had: from small-town buzz band to Grammy-nominated group, he and band mates Brittany Howard (vocals and guitar), Heath Fogg (guitar) and Zach Cockrell (bass) are currently following a well-worn path to acclaim trodden by fellow Southern rockers, Kings of Leon.