Allen Stone’s vocal style reminds me of the classic soul and R&B singers of the 60s and 70s. Growing up in the small community of Chewelah, Washington (population 2,606 as of 2010!), it can be hard to imagine a voice as soulful coming from such an isolated city, especially since his dad was a pastor, and he grew up on gospel music, so you’d expect more of a secular influence.
Allen’s first full album release is “Last to Speak”, which, unfortunately, is only (as of the date of this writing) only available in a digital format.
It is a strong debut and gives the listener a craving to follow this talented singer to see where he evolves and takes his music. Though lyrically the music leans closer to folk than I necessarily would prefer, there is no doubt this album highlights the wide range of musical influences that Allen Stone has been able to cultivate at his young age (25 as of the date of this posting).
Elements of classic soul, popular music and R&B are used to tell various stories of heartache, social and religious commentary and self exploration, reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s work during the late 70s and early 80s (Allen Stone has stated that Stevie Wonder was one of his idols).
I’ll admit that the album sequence could have been better. I would have put “Running Game” and “False Alarms” (in that order) before “Last to Speak”. That’s just a personal preference.
The vocal production is raw. It isn’t polished, softened or auto-tuned, and it shows all of the natural tendencies of Allen’s voice. I saw Allen Stone in concert in 2012, and I can guarantee you that what you hear on this album is how it sound live and in concert.
1. Shelter-I would have picked a different track to open up the album – ****
2. Quit Callin – ***
3. Better Off This Way – *****
4. Reality – I’m a big fan of the keys that open this track – *****
5. Figure It Out -I really love the chorus of this song- *****
6. Poison – For a song about that’s social commentary, I didn’t think the music matched the message-***
7. Running Game – Solid bass line – *****
8. False Alarms – *****
9. Vibe With Ya – ****
10. Breathe Anymore – ****
11. Last To Speak – Strong social message – ****
ALBUM RATING: ****