Allen Stone

Allen Stone

While the buzz was building in early 2014 about the Internet of Things, Allen Stone was recording in his rustic Washington State cabin and extolling the virtues of an old-fangled kind of connection – the one that exists between people playing music together. The 26-year-old soul singer, praised as a “pitch-perfect powerhouse” by USA Today, was working on the follow-up to his self-titled breakthrough album, which he released digitally on his own stickystones label in late 2011. Sure, he acknowledges, he could have written and recorded his new set of songs alone on a laptop – but that wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.

“I’m a social person and, to me, the greatest energy that you can cultivate is a collaborative energy. It feels better when you’ve got somebody to bounce ideas off of,” explains Stone.

While he’s not keen on creating music with computers, Stone nevertheless considers technology to be an enormous blessing. In fact, he might have never met his coproducer, Swedish musician Magnus Tingsek, if he hadn’t been digging around online for new music.

“I was like his number one fan for three years,” recalls Allen. At that point, things started exploding for Stone. His self-titled album shot into the Top 10 of Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and entered the Top 5 of iTunes’ R&B/Soul charts shortly after its release. Soon the unsigned artist was appearing on shows like “Conan,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “Last Call with Carson Daly” and “Live from Daryl’s House.” NPR’s Ann Powers hailed the album as “meant for those of us who like our R&B slightly unkempt and exceedingly feelingful” and Forbes ran a feature focusing on his remarkable success as an independent artist. The New York Times’ Jon Pareles praised Stone’s live show, noting, “his music reached back four decades to the late 1960s and early ’70s, when songwriters like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Bill Withers brought introspection and social commentary to soul music.”

A partnership with indie label ATO Records, which later released the album physically, opened new doors. Stone was voted one of mtvU's "Freshman 5" and named a VH1’ “You Oughta Know” artist. He opened for Al Green and Dave Matthews and performed on “Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “The TonightShow with Jay Leno.”

With an 85-date headline tour planned and two out of three openers selected, Stone asked his manager, “Why don’t we see if Tingsek will come?” Tingsek, who had never toured outside of Scandinavia, agreed and the two became good friends as they traveled across North America and throughout Europe.

“My number one joy is playing live, so when I write records I really just think of what song I could write that would be really fun to play live,” says Stone. “Basically my job is to throw a party for people every night when we’re on tour.”

The non-stop pace of touring and promotional appearances makes it tempting to “set the cruise control a little too high,” Allen notes, which can take its toll over time. After doing nearly 600 shows in two years, Stone was ready to turn from touring to recording. He moved from Seattle back to his hometown of Chewelah, WA – population 2,606.

“To find the balance I was looking for, I needed to move out to the middle of nowhere – where I have no distractions whatsoever,” he says.

As he considered who he might like to collaborate with, Tingsek came to mind. Stone flew to Malmö, Sweden in November of 2013 and, after just a day in the studio with Tingsek, he knew it was the right pairing.

“Magnus is like Prince – he plays everything! He’s like one of those Swiss Army knife musicians,” says Stone. “He hears music completely different than I do. I’m more like a classic soul/classic blues kind of singer and he is able to hear music in this new, weird, disco jazz nuance that totally challenges me to broaden my ear and my vocality.”

They wrote and recorded some tracks in Malmö and, in early 2014, reconvened in Chewelah so they could work with members of Allen’s band. Stone is a big fan of recording with real – rather than virtual – instruments.

“The computer’s such a nice tool that it’s starting to take the human element out of art. So where’s the line? If the computer is doing 85% of the work, then whose record is it?” he asks. “Every instrument on the new record is all real.”

Seeing the preponderance of DJ acts at the festivals he has played has been a little unsettling. “I kind of feel like the clerk who’s been working at the grocery story for 20 years and all of a sudden they start bringing in these self check-out stands. And you’re like, what the hell are they gonna need me for?” says Allen, laughing.

As his music makes abundantly clear, Stone isn’t likely to be replaced by a laptop anytime soon. After all, he’s got something that still can’t be simulated: soul.

Over the last five years Belgian artist Milow (born Jonathan Vandenbroeck) has emerged as one of Europe's most exciting young talents: a plugged-in singer-songwriter with the ability to touch a crowd and the pop know-how required to make great records. He's an old-school soul with a new-fashioned sensibility, a troubadour fascinated by technology. Milow's music gleams with the inherited songcraft of his heroes—Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Jack Johnson—but it also reflects a point of view all his own, with specific concerns about growing pains and the future of his generation.

This combination of the intimate and the widescreen has won Milow a devoted fanbase across Europe, not to mention a list of achievements that includes number-one singles, platinum albums, sold-out tours, performances at some of the world's most prestigious festivals and millions upon millions of YouTube hits. What's more, he's accomplished all this as his own boss, releasing music through Homerun Records, a label he founded in his bedroom.

"I just never wanted to have to answer to anyone else," he says of the DIY operation. "It's always been my call."

Milow has shared the stage with Jack Johnson and Brett Dennen. Even Kanye West is a fan and posted Milow's cover of "Ayo Technology" to his tastemaking blog, helping drive the song's eye-popping video to its current total of over 65 million views.

"Every time I get on stage, I feel like that's an opportunity to show a little bit more of myself," he says. "Some of my songs are about really serious topics, but I also like to have fun, and I think my shows are where I can make that clear."

YouTube is littered with concert clips that prove he's right, and Milow can't wait to present the evidence live and in person. A sophisticated music-scene veteran with the bottomless energy of a beginner, Milow is ready for what's next.

Going into the studio with Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Patty Griffin, Heartless Bastards, Trail of Dead) earlier this year, Emily Wolfe had the full intention of putting together a full length LP. But as the new songs came to life, it was clear she was hearing two different sounds, two different sides of herself.

At first this was unsettling because Emily Wolfe thought she needed to put her sound in a box, be more consistent, stay loyal to the fluidity of Director's Notes. But then she realized she could create her own box; she could create as many boxes as she wanted.

Emily does not want to be a mechanical artist, and the only way to do that is to cover the spectrum - from one extreme to the other - but ultimately, to do what motivates her to keep creating music.

The two new EP's, set to be released in May and September of 2013, are like night and day. One is a collection of summer rock anthems and the other has an intimate acoustic feel. Emily does not want to be a writer with mechanical hands; she wants to be an innovator - an artist who is constantly evolving.

Each track pulls you further into the mood of the melody allowing your mind to wander through the stories until eventually, they become your own. "Dance on the Record Grooves" and "Never Let Me Go" make you yearn for love; punchy tunes like "Heavy" and "Lion Heart" make you crave independence from love; and the acoustic-pop vibes of "Before You Were Mine" and "Anywhere" make you fall in love all over again.

Director's Notes displays Wolfe's extraordinary musicianship as a multi-instrumentalist -- guitar, banjo, drums, percussion, bells, piano, Rhodes, helping her weave a layer of vulnerability through each recording.

Though Wolfe's magnetic voice attracts listeners of all generations and genres, her style has often been compared to the likes of an upbeat Sarah Jaffe, an indie-rock Brandi Carlile, or Sara Bareilles with a guitar.

Whatever your story or opinions of love, the genuine nature of Emily Wolfe's debut album, Director's Notes, will leave you pressing repeat.

Limited Admissions at Doors

Advanced tickets to this event are sold out! We will have a limited amount of admissions avilable to purchase when doors open at 6:00 PM on the night of the show. All admissions will be first come first serve, one per customer, with no re entry. $15 at the door, cash only.

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