Allen Stone’s immaculate voice, impeccable sense of style, and passion for R&B/Soul music presents itself through the creativeness and lyrical ingenuity of this Washington-bred singer/songwriter.
The Chewelah, Washington native is known for his raspy 60s inspired voice reminiscent of the late Stevie Wonder or hippie artists from the early 1970s. According to Stone, he is “a hippie with soul”. Most notably, Stone blurs the conventional R&B artist lines by deriving his sound from a variety of influences: R&B, Soul, Neo-Soul, which is the fusion of contemporary R&B and 1970s soul, Blues, and Gospel.
Aside from Allen’s impressive vocals, Stone is an exceptional guitar player. “Last to Speak”, Stone’s 2009 album, features 11 singer/songwriter inspired tracks that essentially brought his music to the limelight. “Better Off This Way”, “Figure It Out” and “Reality”, for example, are some of the most acoustically driven songs on the entire album. They all begin with a catchy guitar riff capable of making almost anyone dance! A detailed track-by-track analysis of “Last to Speak” can be read here!
After all, no one expected such a soulful voice from a white male who was raised in the church for the majority of his life. Furthermore, his obstetrician mother and preacher father make for an idiosyncratic behind the music story; Stone sang in several choir groups as a child and thrived in a musical environment. Ironically, Stone speaks out against the hypocrisy surrounding organized religion and politics in the song entitled “Last to Speak”. In other words, Stone appreciates the influence gospel music has on his music career however he does not use music to preach religious views.
Following Stone’s 2009 release of “Last to Speak”, an eponymous album was released during the Fall of 2011. In comparison to “Last to Speak”, Allen’s second album explicates his maturation as an artist and ability to change his sound in order to reflect his gospel roots. Naturally, Stone showcases his clever writing abilities in a love-inspired song called “The Wind” which starts off with a slow bass line followed by an accompanying jazz band. By far, Stone’s eponymous album fluently blends the previously mentioned musical influences and maximizes the soulful experience for listeners. Songs like “Celebrate Tonight”, “Your Eyes” and “Unaware” are heavily influenced by the presence of a gospel-oriented band that is extremely smooth in sound.
Allen Stone is currently on tour and will play in Manchester, TN at the Bonnaroo venue June 13th. Rembert Brown, an interviewer with Grantland, had the privilege to attend one of Stone’s shows. According to Brown:
When he started singing, I can’t say I’ve seen many happier individuals on stage in my entire life. The crowd sensed this, allowing Allen to pull off a feat few new artists are capable of: making a New York City crowd act noticeably uncool. By show’s end, the talk was that we may have just seen our next great soul singer.
What do you think, is Allen Stone the new face of R&B?
Allen Stone performed his critically acclaimed single “Unaware” for KEXP Radio late November of 2011. His impassioned performance may argue his stance for being the new face of R&B!