June 6-14 • 21st Century Waterfront, Chattanooga, TN
• What: Allen Stone
• When: 7 p.m. tonight
• Where: Coca-Cola Stage
• Admission: Riverbend 9-day wristband ($50); one-day wristband ($26)
•For a free download of Stone's "Million," visit allenstone.com.
Allen Stone made a lasting impression on Chattanooga music lovers last summer when he performed at Nightfall.
As a result, Kori Warriner, 42, of Chattanooga, is a dedicated fan. She likes his vibe.
"He had the whole crowd moving. His music just made you feel good," Warriner says. "His music is very upbeat, and it's refreshing to hear an artist whose songs don't all sound the same. He went from sappy, sad love songs to happy pop songs and everything in between."
Interview magazine described Stone, who lives in Seattle, as "the most soulful, pitch-perfect voice in new American music," while the New York Times compared his music to that of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Bill Withers. But singer/songwriter Young, 27, calls himself "a hippie with soul."
And, like many soul singers, he started his singing career in church, where he says he "learned to connect emotionally with songs through that."
"I think that's what I'm able to go back to now when I sing live," he told Interview. "It's a very therapeutic, emotional and spiritual experience for me, getting to sing. I sing all day, every day. It's probably loosely based in my connection growing up with it like I did."
Still, while church was where he got his start, he acknowledges that the soul and R&B singers of the '60s and '70s also touched his spirit.
"Soul music from that time wasn't just about bumpin' and grindin' at the club -- it was a huge part of a cultural movement. That's where my inspiration comes from," Stone says.
Terri Smith, of Signal Mountain, also jumped on the Allen Stone bandwagon after his performance last year in Chattanooga.
"I first saw him at Nightfall and couldn't stand still. The entire crowd moved and grooved all night to his soulful voice and rhythm," she says, noting that she also watches his concerts on cable TV.
Former Chattanoogan Stacey McCray, now of Rome, Ga., calls Stone "pretty amazing."
"He seems to have such passion for his music, and the fact that he's a hippie kid from Seattle performing soul music that rivals some of the greats is pretty incredible," McCray says. "He's one of those artists who just gets it. I'm pretty sure he will not only be entertaining but he will be able to connect with just about anyone in the audience."
Contact Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396.