Allen Stone’s self-titled, self-released album from October 2011 is beautifully soulful and expressive. Only 24 years old, Stone has released three albums, including this one, and isn’t even signed to a record label. Allen Stone hit the R&B/Soul charts on iTunes with a bang, topping off at number 2 and subsequently bringing him exposure by major media outlets such as MTV, NPR, CNN, and The New York Times.
Track by track, Allen Stone’s third album has a mix of deep passion and a sense of humour and fun that adds excitement to the listening experience. The first track on the album, “Sleep”, is a great example of this, which has great spoken-word banter back and forth with his band of musicians. Most notable on this album is Stone’s smooth and pitch-perfect vocals, which sound effortless. Combine his groovy vocal talents with the gospel-style rock organs and the rest of his backup band, and you have a sound that is reminiscent of James Morrison, Jamie Lidell, and even Stevie Wonder, while remaining unique and distinct.
His lyrics tell stories ranging from sleep problems in the first track, to just plain celebrating life in “Celebrate Tonight”, to the sexy-groovy tune, “Your Eyes”, where Stone and his instruments croon about a not-so-good relationship with problems that seem to become irrelevant when he looks into his lover’s eyes. And the instrumentation on the album is just as diverse as his lyrical abilities. Stone starts the album off with a punchy, poppy gospel-esque tune (“Sleep”), transitions into a slower groovier sound with a bit of dirty bass on “What I’ve Seen”, and then picks it up again with some “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”-era influences on “Say So”.
A friend of mine recommended this album to me, and it was a pleasant surprise. If you want to have a listen before you buy, check out Allen Stone’s website for a live-stream version. And if you dig it, pick up a copy on iTunes and support this unsigned artist —it’s only $5.99!