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Music Journeys: Allen Stone

Allen Stone brings his new tour to Columbus Tuesday with a show at Newport Music Hall. Stone, who's known for his soulful sound, turns 33 soon and recently started a family. In this edition of Music Journeys, Stone explains how marriage and reconnecting with himself inspired his latest release, what music means to him and how that's changed over the years, and more. Thanks for listening.  

Brown Eyed Lover plays...

Allen Stone has a specific purpose every time he performs. 

"When I sing, the emotion I'm always trying to find is the feeling that I felt growing up as a kid singing with my folks and singing in church," Stone said. "Singing with a group of people, there was always this therapy that I felt. I've always really loved that, and that's the emotion that I want to find myself every time I open my mouth and sing."   

Hold It Down plays...

Born in a small town near Spokane, Washington, Stone considered a life music after hearing a family friend's song on the radio. His fourth and current release Building Balance finds him trying to do just that.   

"These songs culminated through falling in love with my wife and building my family as well as getting over being dropped by a major label," Stone recalled. "Maybe my trajectory and dreams not working out like I imagined them. I kind of went through a dark time through my last one and this one was written around that - attempting to dive into my own mental obstacles while trying to explore some new colorings of music. I felt obliged to be a certain type of musician and performer. On this record, I attempted to jump out of that box and bring some more spices to the kitchen with hip hop, rock and roll and folk and funk just to find that center and balance." 

Chippin' Away plays... 

How did you find that balance?

"You never find it, it's a fleeting position," Stone admitted. "That's why I think the word building means a lot in connection with balance. It's in your hands and then it's gone. It's a constant journey. I definitely feel happier and in a much more centered place in my life, but that balance still seems out of reach. You have to constantly strive toward more. It's an interesting puzzle."

Give You Blue plays...

"With Give You Blue, I wanted to encapsulate the reality of love and the reality of all relationships," Stone reflected. "They take work. They take perseverance and patience and communication. Maybe there are these flowery, uber-positive people that don't have to put the work in and have simple and consistent lives, but that hasn't been my experience in anything I've ever done. I wanted to write a song that spoke to that - not just the butterflies and joys but also the shortcomings and the obstacles."   

The 14 tracks on Building Balance aren't all about love. Miscommunicate for instance takes on technology.  

Miscommunicate plays...

"Specifically our phones and the internet," Stone said. "I found it funny that these devices that were designed and meant for connection and communication seem to have been placing us farther away from each other and disconnecting us more than maybe we know. I think it's definitely something we need to continue talking about."   

The song Back To The Swing has a more optimistic outlook. 

Back To The Swing plays...

"I thought maybe the swing is positivity and joy and choosing to be happy," Stone said of Back To The Swing. "I meet a lot of people. There's people who maybe unfortunately have a lot of weight on them and carry that burden. Then there's other people who manage to free themselves of that. That's really what that tune talks about - mental perception. What are you going to choose to focus on every single day."  

There's also a song inspired by Stone's 2017 performance at a concert honoring Aretha Franklin. He's since released his own video version of that song.   

I Say A Little Prayer from video plays...

"I got to do a really fun Aretha tribute at Carnegie Hall, and I got to sing Say A Little Prayer," Stone recalled. "Just the opening line can completely change the outlook of your day. So I wanted to write a song like that. Not with any angle behind it, but just try to write something that feels like that. Taste Of You, that was the attempt. Hopefully we got close." 

Taste of You plays...

"Music is so many more things than what it first started out to be," Stone reflected. "When you bring commerce into art, it changes it. Music initially was an escape for me. When I was a kid, I remember having a walkman and being thrilled about this world of music I had yet to explore. Driving and singing along to new records. Hearing new records were coming out. When I started writing music, it was part of the growth of my personality. It was how I got people to like me. And then when I made my first bit of money off it, it changed a little bit because the ultimate goal was to do this for a living. When you're a young kid, you don't know what a living is. It's still kind of an obtuse mirage of sorts. Now, music to me is a really wonderful vessel to bringing joy to other people. When I stand on stage, I'm hoping I'm doing a wonderful deed toward helping people escape from whatever it is they are trying to escape from. The fact that I get to be the vessel to bring that joy to people, that's the most important role that music is playing for me.  I'm proud that that's what my life is." 

Allen Stone performs Tuesday March 10 at Newport Music Hall. He's got plenty of shows coming up around the country this month



Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. Foley has worked in various roles, from producing news and feature stories to engineering Live From Studio A sessions. A series of music features Foley started in 2018 called Music Journeys has grown into a podcast and radio show. He also assists in developing other programs in WCBE's Podcast Experience. Foley hosts The Morning Mix, a weekday music show featuring emerging and established musicians, our Columbus-area and Ohio-based talent, and additional artists that inspire him.
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