Chelsea, Alabama native Paul Janeway started singing in a band called the Secret Danger after moving to Birmingham to study accounting. The blues-rock outfit floundered after the departure of its guitarist, but in 2012, a mutual friend invited Janeway and bassist Jesse Phillips into his studio to record a song. "It was going to be our last hurrah," Janeway told Garden & Gun. "But then something just clicked and we walked out of there with something."
Reinvigorated, the pair formed St. Paul & the Broken Bones recruiting four additional members. A seventh, keyboardist Al Gamble was brought in the following year to play on their debut album and he became a full time member in January 2014.
Frontman Paul Janeway uses the St. Paul handle in honor of his musical background, having grown up in a devout family in which secular music was largely forbidden. "The only secular music that I heard at all was a '70s group called the Stylistics, and Sam Cooke. That was about it," Janeway recalled to Billboard magazine. "The rest was all gospel music. When I was about 10, I was groomed to be a minister. My goal in life until I was about 18 was to be a preacher."
Janeway's church background led to his interest in music: "My pastor was the reason that I learned to play guitar," he said. "They would let me play guitar and sing in church."
St. Paul & the Broken Bones debut album, Half the City, was released on February 18, 2014 under Alabama label, Single Lock Records, which is part owned by John Paul White of The Civil Wars. The disc received critical acclaim from many media outlets and reached #62 on the Billboard 200 chart.