Allen Stone w/ Jared & The Mill

Allen Stone w/ Jared & The Mill

JARED & THE MILL

Wed, May 18, 2016

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

The Broadberry

Richmond, VA

$18 ADV, $21 DOS

Tickets at the Door

Allen Stone
Allen Stone
On his third full-length album, singer/songwriter Allen Stone proves himself deeply devoted to making uncompromisingly soulful music that transcends all pop convention. Stone's debut for Capitol Records, Radius marks the follow-up to the Chewelah, Washington-bred 28-year-old's self-released and self-titled sophomore effort, a 2011 album that climbed to the top 10 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and gained acclaim from renowned rock critic Ann Powers (whose NPR review hailed Allen Stone as "meant for those of us who like our R&B slightly unkempt and exceedingly feelingful"). Made in collaboration with Swedish soul singer/songwriter/phenom Magnus Tingsek, Stone's latest batch of songs capture the warm energy of that creative connection and transport the listener to a higher and more exalted plane.

Culled from several dozen songs penned through a year and a half of constant writing and refining, Radius bears a title that reflects both its scope and intimacy. "The radius is that line extending from the center of the circle to its exterior," says Stone, "and in a lot of ways this album is about getting out things deep inside—whether it's love or insecurity or joy or frustration about things going on today." Along with immersing himself in a songwriting approach that involved unflinching examination of "some very dark and negative moments in my life," Stone shaped the sound and feel of Radius by pushing himself to "get past the boundaries of what I felt comfortable with, so that I could progress into a whole new level of creativity." Despite that sometimes-daunting process, Radius wholly reveals Stone's easy grace in blending everything from edgy soul-pop and earthy folk-rock to throwback R&B and Parliament-inspired funk.

Radius first began to come to life back in the fall of 2013, when Stone headed to Sweden to join in a writing session with Tingsek. "His musicality is so outside-the-box, and it really stretched me as an artist," says Stone, who'd tapped Tingsek as one of his opening acts for an 85-date headlining tour in 2012. "We just kept on throwing a wrench into the works and tried to create something that's the complete antithesis of what you'd expect from pop music." After recording the bulk of the album in Sweden, Stone rounded out Radius's production at his own studio in the woods of northeast Washington and in L.A.-based sessions with producers like Benny Cassette (who's previously worked with Kanye West) and Malay (a co-producer on Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE).

Like many of his own musical heroes—Stevie Wonder chief among them—Stone pulls off the near-magical feat of channeling a weight-of-the-world sensitivity into his songs while still radiating hope and promise. And though that depth of consciousness feels transmitted from a more golden era, Radius continually hones in on issues both timeless and of-the-moment, with Stone's breezily poetic lyrics touching on topics ranging from rampant materialism (on the tenderly string-accented, harmony-soaked "American Privilege") and the toxic takeover of technology in art (on the gutsy and groove-heavy "Fake Future"). "That song's mainly about how technology's infiltrating music in a way that's making it less and less human and taking all the heart out of it," Stone says of the latter track, a soul-pop powerhouse peppered with playfully cutting lines like "Rock stars pushing buttons/Few actually play/City wasn't ever built on lights and Special K." And as evidenced by Radius's lush yet raw sonic landscape—wherein the only hint of synth comes from a Moog analog synthesizer—Stone stayed true to his pledge to "keep fakeness completely out of this record" and rely entirely on live instrumentation.

Equally introspective and outwardly searching, Radius also finds Stone exploring intensely personal matters, such as depression on the stark and lovely, acoustic-guitar-woven ballad "Circle" ("That one was written at a pretty dark time for me," Stone points out. "It's about how depression can put you into a kind of circle, where you're just trying to find a way out but it keeps on leading you back inside"). Showing his skill at crafting a killer love song as well, Stone looks at heartbreak and regret on the aching, electric-piano-infused "I Know That I Wasn't Right," slips into hopeless romanticism on the dreamy R&B pastiche "Barbwire," and unleashes some starry-eyed affection on the dancefloor-ready "Symmetrical" (a sample lyric: "The angle of your spine/Is sending lightning bolts down mine/When those molecules combine/It's astronomically divine"). And in tracks like the ultra-catchy album-opener "Perfect World" and the fiery, horn-laced "Freedom," Radius unfolds into epically joyful anthems that show the full range and power of Stone's vocals.

Stone started working those vocals as a kid, thanks largely to his parents' influence. "My father was a minister so I spent about half my childhood in church, watching my mom and dad sing together and lead the congregation in song," he recalls. By the time he was 11 he'd picked up a guitar and written his first song, and soon began self-recording demo tapes to pass along to classmates. Although Stone enrolled in bible college after high school, he quickly dropped out to move to Seattle and kickstart his music career. "I had an '87 Buick and I'd drive up and down the west coast, playing any gig I could get just to try to put my music out there," he says.

At age 22, Stone self-released his debut album, 2010's Last To Speak. But it was his self-titled follow-up (on which he joined forces with former Miles Davis keyboardist Deron Johnson) that ended up earning him serious recognition. Along with entering the top five on iTunes' R&B/Soul chart after its digital release, Allen Stone prompted him to score appearances on such late-night talk shows like Conan and grace the pages of publications like the New York Times (whose chief popular-music critic Jon Pareles praised Stone for possessing "a tenor voice with the eagerness and frisky syncopations of [Stevie] Wonder"). And upon partnering with ATO Records for a physical release of his self-titled album in 2012, Stone soon turned up on the likes of the Late Show with David Letterman and landed a gig as the opening act for soul legend Al Green. In the midst of all the buzz, he also took up a grueling touring schedule, tearing through nearly 600 shows in just two years.

For Stone, all that time onstage went a long way in preparing him for the many creative breakthroughs he's made on Radius. "I think you really grow as a musician when you're playing right in front of people, and for me constantly growing and progressing and getting better is really the most important thing," he says. Ruminating on the emotional undertones of his new album's title and noting that "the center of me is my heart," Stone says he also hopes that Radius will ultimately help listeners shed new light on their own struggles. "There've been times in my life when records were my saving grace and really helped me to figure out who I am, and I'd love for my music to have that kind of impact on a kid who's looking for his or her own place in this life," he says. "Because I absolutely believe that if you're going to stand at a microphone and say something, you need to recognize that as a privilege. You've got to be incredibly careful about it, and really put all your heart into the message that you're sending out into the world."
JARED & THE MILL
JARED & THE MILL
Howdy,

We are Jared & The Mill. All of us were born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and we still call it home today. When we first got started in the summer of 2011 we just wanted to play some music with our best buds, have a few shows, and have a good time. Jared and Michael had been buddies and playing music together since they were kids, and after they met up with another childhood musical duo, Josh Morrin and Larry Gast III, they realized they needed a bass player, so along came Larry's pal Chuck Morris III. Some months later, Jared ran into Gabe Hall Rodrigues, a local accordion and keys player at a coffee shop. Gabe joined, and as it goes we were soon hammering along in the local scene, playing alongside the bands of new friends and old throughout Arizona. The wheels kept turning, and before we knew it we had over two years of touring under our boots; playing in the living rooms, dive bars, venues, theaters, and even arenas of this big ol' country of our's alongside fellow upcoming bands, and with some of the biggest acts we had always looked up to.

Playing for fifty people one night in a smokey bar, and the very next night opening up and playing for eighteen thousand in an arena was inspiring and eye opening to say the least. Opening up for the likes of Zac Brown Band, Barry Gibb, Boy & Bear, Run River North, Della Mae, Cake, Joe Pug, Horse Feathers, Flogging Molly, The Killers, Allen Stone and others while touring alongside bands just getting their start like us was a real honor. We certainly gained invaluable experience from all those shows and all those trials, but something else happened out there on the road for us, something we have a hard time explaining, but anyone who's spent some time out there on the interstate understands; we became not just friends, but family.

Being out there changed our lives, it changed how we thought about things, it changed how we wrote about things. Those miles molded our music and molded our souls and it made our bond even stronger. Life gives to you and it takes from you, and we have written about that give, and that take. We've written about getting older, about those friends and those loved ones and those things that never leave and about those that do; about those sweet things and those bitter things, and that struggle to keep the course as you try your best to carve yourself into a good man. We have written about our desert home we so very often miss. Our music has been called, compared and regarded by a number of different names and genres, and we've been influenced and shaped by many different events and people, but more than anything, we'd like to think that some shred of the Southwest -- of our home -- can be found in the heart of our music.

It ain't blues and it ain't country. It ain't bluegrass and it ain't indie rock. It's something in-between like most things here in the Southwest, and that's just the way we like it. So here we are, with a new EP to record and a busy year ahead. We've got some new tunes and a sound that has grown, and we're eager as hell to share it with all of you. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for listening.


We'll see you down the road,


Jared & The Mill
Venue Information:
The Broadberry
2729 W. Broad Street
Richmond, VA, 23220
http://www.thebroadberry.com