Singer and songwriter Allen Stone describes himself as "a hippie with soul," and his music reflects both sides of this formula; his vocals and melodic style show the clear influence of classic soul and R&B of the 1960s and '70s, while his lyrics reveal an idealism and passion that recall the folk-inspired singer/songwriters of the same era.
Allen Stone was born in 1987 in Chewelah, Washington, a small town not far from Spokane. Stone's mother was an obstetrician while his father was the pastor of a local church; Stone grew up on gospel and Christian music, and began leading youth worship groups when he was only 14. He had little exposure to secular music as a child, but in his teens, he developed a taste for classic soul music, and started collecting vintage R&B sides, as well as golden age singer/songwriters. After graduating from high school, 18-year-old Stone left Chewelah to attend junior college in Spokane; a year later, he transferred to Bible college, but after a single semester he dropped out and relocated to Seattle. He began writing songs, and soon put together a band with a handful of local musicians; Stone and his group became a regular presence on the West Coast club scene, and developed a reputation for powerful live shows as they played up to 200 dates a year.
In 2010, Stone recorded an album called Last to Speak that he released digitally through his own Stickystones label. A second album, simply titled Allen Stone, followed in the fall of 2011, and quickly became an independent success story; online sales took the album to the Top Five of the iTunes R&B/Soul chart, and it placed on Billboard's Heatseekers chart, all without a formal distribution deal. As Stone and his band played more and bigger shows, they were invited to appear on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Last Call with Carson Daly, and features on Stone were published in Esquire and Billboard. The artist-friendly ATO Records label signed Stone in 2012, and reissued his eponymous album in the summer of that year. A follow-up album for the Capitol label was planned for 2014. ~ Mark Deming
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