Stone’s ‘Radius’ Is One Of 2016’s Top New Album Re-Issues

Courtesy:  ATO Records

Courtesy: ATO Records

Early this spring Allen Stone partnered with ATO Records to re-issue his 2015 album Radius.  The record, featuring a grand total of twenty-one songs, is one of 2016’s top new album re-issues.  Whether it is one’s first introduction to Stone’s music or one is quite familiar with his body of work, the fact remains the same that this record is one that will impress not just Stone’s audiences but any R&B aficionado in general.

Allen Stone’s new re-issue of his 2015 album Radius is one of 2016’s top new CD re-issues.  Regardless of one’s familiarity with Stone’s work listeners will agree that this record is one that any R&B aficionado should hear at least once if not more.  Now having noted that, it is something of a surprise that the record does not boast a parental advisory label.  That is a concern because there are some points throughout the record at which some potentially questionable language is used.  That isn’t in every song, in Stone’s defense.  Regardless, it should be noted.  Having noted that, there is still a lot of enjoyable material in this record beginning with the record’s opener ‘Perfect World.’  The song is a fun, infectious composition that contemplates what a perfect world would be like.  Stone muses here, “In a perfect world/People everywhere/They could elevate up above all fear/In a perfect heart/There’d be perfect love/I’m still looking for reading someone/In a perfect world/Everybody knows/That it comes around same as it goes/But the way it is/is   the way it is/I’m just trying to find my way through this/In a perfect world.”  He and his fellow performers go on to sing in the song’s chorus that they are going to live their lives even though the world isn’t perfect, singing “It’ ain’t bringin’ me down/Get it off my shoulder/Livin’ like I told ya.”  The positive vibes presented in that verse and chorus in themselves will put a smile on any listener’s face.  The infectious, Stevie Wonder style grooves established in the song’s musical arrangement strengthen those positive vibes even more.  Those vibes continue to be strengthened in the song’s second verse and accompanying chorus as Stone sings, “On a perfect day/At the perfect time/When those beautiful colors combine/I’ll be wide awake/I’ll be living free/Cause that perfect feeling/Is inside of me/In a perfect world.”  This is Stone presenting a full on optimistic view of life.  He is saying he is seeing all of the good things out there and living happy because he isn’t letting life’s negativity get to him.  Again, the positive vibes of the song’s lyrical content mix with the song’s equally positive musical vibes to make for a song in whole that shows exactly what makes Radius a solid new record from Allen Stone.  It isn’t the album’s only positive point either.  The album’s third offering ‘American Privilege’ is another of the album’s key inclusions.

‘Perfect World’ is a key composition in Allen Stone’s recently re-issued 2015 album Radius.  That is due to the mix of the positive vibes exhibited in the song’s musical and lyrical makeup.  It is just one of the songs that makes this record stand out.  The record’s third offering ‘American Privilege’ is another of the album’s key songs.  That is because it is the polar opposite of ‘Perfect World’ in every sense of the term.  In regards to the song’s musical arrangement it reaches back to the 80s era of R&B with its slow, keyboard driven approach.  Even Stone’s own vocal approach and the song’s string accompaniment harkens back to that era.  It is a sound that must be heard to be fully understood and appreciated.  What is truly interesting here is the contrast of the song’s old school 80s slow jam sound to its rather socially conscious lyrical content.  Stone sings here about the things that so many people in the white community take for granted in an almost self-loathing fashion.  That is inferred in the song’s lead verse as he sings, “Oh, it doesn’t seem right that I, I was born white/And my parents don’t fight/Told me they love me each night/I, I don’t lose sleep for kids sewing my sheets/Or the ones stitching my sneaks/As long as I can buy ‘em both cheap.”  It’s tough to know if Stone is trying to perhaps comment on the view that others in the R&B community might have (or had) of him or if there is a certain genuine self-pity element here.  Regardless it is certain to create its own share of discussion among listeners.  The song’s chorus is certain to generate just as much discussion as Stone sings, “American privilege/Is blurring my vision/Inherited sickness.”  It is almost as if Stone is making himself a self-appointed martyr here.  One can only hope that this isn’t the case.  Though, maybe having someone address the biases and stereotypes that are still so prevalent in America is something needed, especially now in America’s current climate.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse about the materialism in which even he is guilty of indulging.  That commentary continues on in the song’s third and final verse.  It definitely will leave listeners thinking and talking.  The discussions that are certain to be raised by this song’s lyrical content join together with its equally intriguing to show in whole why the song is such an important addition to Radius.  It still is not the album’s only remaining key composition.  The album’s closer, an alternate take on his original song ‘Freedom’ is one more key part of this album’s re-issue.

‘Perfect World’ and ‘White Privilege’ are both key inclusions in Allen Stone’s recently re-issued record Radius.  That is due to the combination of their musical arrangements and lyrical content.  In the case of the prior the song’s musical arrangement and lyrical content come together to make it a fun song that is sure to put a smile on anyone’s face.  The latter is just as intriguing thanks to the contrasting juxtaposition of its musical arrangement and apparently socially conscious lyrical content.  Each song is important in its own right to the record’s overall presentation.  Even as much of a role as each plays in the album’s bigger picture, they are not the album’s only key songs.  The alternate take of ‘Freedom’ included in the album’s re-issue is another key inclusion to the record.  The song’s musical arrangement presents another throwback R&B sound with its guitars, horns, and keyboards that instantly get stuck in listeners’ heads.  It is just one part of what makes this song stand out, too.  The song’s lyrical content proves just as important to its presentation as its musical arrangement.  In regards to the song’s lyrical content it definitely conjures some interesting thoughts.  That is because audiences find Stone singing at one point here, “Hallelujah/Pumping right through ya/Holy rolling make me feel golden.”  It isn’t the only intriguing part of the song’s lyrical content either.  Electric/Infectious/It’s spreading all over my mind/Amazing vibrations/I’m chasing that spark in the night.”  Needless to say this paints an even more interesting picture in this song.  The rest of the lyrics penned for the song are quite similar in style.  Considering that, and the song’s lyrics one can’t help but follow one’s suppositions about the song’s story.  It’s a man whose woman just makes him feel really good in every sense of the phrase.  At least that is this critic’s take on the song.  So it should not be taken as gospel.  Regardless of whether that interpretation is correct or even close, the fact remains that the song is still sure to be a fan favorite especially with its re-worked musical arrangement.  Keeping this thought in mind, it proves to be another key addition to the album’s new re-issue.  Together with ‘Perfect World,’ ‘White Privilege’ and the remainder of the album’s offerings, the album in whole shows once more why it is one of 2016’s top new album re-issues.

Allen Stone’s recently re-issued 2015 album Radius is one of 2016’s top new album re-issues.  That is made evident in each of the songs that have been discussed here.  Each noted song presents musical and lyrical content that will both entertain audiences and generate their own share of discussion among those audiences.  This applies not just with the compositions noted here but the rest of the album’s songs, too.  All things considered, Radius proves to be an improvement on a record that was already a solid effort from an impressive artist in its original release.  In other words it is, again, one of 2016’s top new album re-issues.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Radius’ new re-issue is available online along with all of Allen Stone’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.allenstone.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/allenstone

Twitter: http://twitter.com/allen_stone

 

 

 

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OCMS’s New LP Will Impress Fans New And Old

Courtesy: ATO Records

Old Crow Medicine Show has only released four albums so far in its time together.  In that time, the band has amassed legions of fans around the world.  Listening to the band’s previous three full length studio releases, it’s no wonder why so many people have become fans of this Nashville, Tennessee based bluegrass band.  The band’s most recent album, Carry Me Back is even more proof of that.  The album is old school bluegrass at its finest.  Even having gone through a lineup change after the release of its last album, OCMS has shown that it hasn’t missed a step.  If anything this sextet of professionals has gotten even better than before this time out.

Carry Me Back opens with its title track.  The balance of the fiddle, guitar, and mandolin along with the vocals of Kevin Hayes make for a strong link back to bluegrass’ Celtic roots.  For those who perhaps don’t know, much of bluegrass and country is rooted deeply in old Celtic music.  Lyrically, it’s an interesting piece.  It tells of a soldier in the Civil War.  Hayes sings about a person wanting to go back to Virginia after fighting in the war.  He sings, “I’m a rebel boy/Born on the banks of the Shenandoah/In ’61 I went to the war/To win one for Virginia/Yeah my brother went first/Then they called me, too/I was green as a clover in the morning dew/So I marched to the drum/And we sang to the tune/Carry me back to Virginia.”   The song goes on, telling of the soldier’s experience on the frontline, seeing other soldiers die around him, and being sent to the hospitals to have limbs amputated, yet he still fights for his Southern pride.  It’s an interesting piece, and a good opener for this album.

From here, the band moves into what can only be described as one of the album’s most interesting tracks in ‘We Don’t Grow Tobacco.’  That’s first and foremost because of the vocals.  If a listener didn’t know any better, one would think that this song was being sung by none other than the late great Hank Williams, Sr.  It’s somewhat fitting that it would sound like Williams, as it comes across as a true old school style country song in its mournful lyrics.  Presented here is the story of someone looking at the changing of the guard so to speak.  The figure in the song sings about how the old way of growing tobacco for income is no more.  He sings, “Grandpa told me this I know/Change is coming/Won’t be slow/Knocking just like thunder at the door/Fallow fields are all around/Empty barns just falling down/Ironweed is coming up through the floor/Once we growed it by the pound/Now the kids all moved to town/And all that’s left are elderly and poor/Now I sure am sad to say/That I lived to see this day/That we don’t grow tobacco round here no more.”  Anyone who has ever driven through the country sides of this country have seen exactly what this song is about.  It really hits home, thinking about it.  The crux of the song isn’t so much about a region not growing tobacco anymore, though.  It’s more about a way of life going by the wayside.  That’s what makes it such a good song.  Despite that introspective lyrical vibe, the song’s musical vibe doesn’t come across as being too sad.  That mix of emotions makes this song another high point to Carry Me Back

For the emotion of Carry Me Back, OCMS also offers its listeners something with a little bit of an edge to it.  ‘Country Gal’ will put a grin on any listener’s face, male and female.  It’s a laid back song that expertly mirrors the song’s somewhat naughty lyrics with a little bit of word play at the same time.  The title of the song says it all.  The lyrics drive it all home.  Hayes sings in this song, “Baby’s on the bench seat/Ready to go/So if you wanna have fun/honey/Let’s have a roll in the hay/Good lookin’ country gal/hey good looking country gal/Mouse in the corn crib/Pig in the pen/pitchforks turn/Just to circle again/It’s a barnyard two-step/Do-si-do/Raising up a ruckus/’Til the rooster crows.”  There’s no doubt what this one’s about.  Yes, it’s got an edge of sorts to it.  But it’s also a fun song that will entertain any older audience because of how it gets its message across.  It’s just one more of so many enjoyable songs on the band’s new album.  There are also slower pieces such as the album’s closer, ‘Ways of Man’, the Bob Dylan-esque ‘Aint It Enough’, and ‘Genevieve.’  They all come together to make an album that shows where Old Crow Medicine Show has been and where it still plans to go in the years to come.  Carry Me Back is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct via the ATO Records website at http://atorecords.shop.musictoday.com/Product.aspx?cp=126_54314&pc=ATCD106.

Fans can also take in the band’s new album live as the band is out touring in support of Carry Me Back now.  The band will be at the Capitol theater in Madison, Wisconsin on Thursday, November 15th.  It will also have a semi-hometown show later this month on the 25th in Memphis, Tennessee.  Audiences can get a full tour run down and all the latest news from the band online at http://www.facebook.com/OldCrowMedicineShow and http://crowmedicine.com

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