Since purchasing my record player, I’ve taken to listening to Aretha Franklin’s album “Live in Paris” while baking, cleaning, enjoying a glass of wine…okay, doing damn near anything around my house. I own a number of records, everything from Johnny Cash to Pat Benetar to Butch Walker–but Aretha’s record gets more turntable time than any of them.
This past Tuesday night, I finally realized why that album resonates with me to such a great degree. My Tiffany epiphany was had thanks to Allen Stone.
Tuesday wasn’t the best day. Monday wasn’t too fantastic either. In fact, this week has been looming over me like a dark cloud. Just call me Eyeore. Work is challenging, my body is not playing nice (hello, runner’s knee, I hate you), I’m feeling inadequate, and my hormones are pumping exorbitant amounts of estrogen through my body. Go me.
Of course, there’s always a silver lining and little victories; for me, they were in the form of tickets to go see Allen Stone Tuesday night at Martini Ranch. And I was excited, to say the very least.
I was introduced to Allen Stone close to a year ago via YouTube videos. Yeah, I wasn’t ready. Because there he was, a hipster-looking son of a preacher man from Seattle, Washington, who crafts lyrics (poetry really) that speak openly about politics, society, love–and the boy can hit a mean falsetto that rivals the likes of Prince and James Brown.
His performances are chock full of passion and charisma (check out his rendition of “Is This Love”–he looks like he’s ready to take off into space at any moment!). He appears to have literally been taken over by the music, like B sharps and sweet guitar licks have invaded his limbs and he’s creating sound with them.
There’s something spiritual about his performances, which makes sense given his upbringing in a religious household coupled with his obvious devotion to music. It’s a potent combination, one that is both beautiful and unique.
Tuesday night, watching Allen Stone and his band, along with Tingsek and Yuna, his opening acts, it was like a baptism. I was covered from head to toe in passion, talent, heartache, and joy. The music made me move, made me sing along, made me happy. All that negativity that had been clouding my life was banished, and I reveled in great music and great company.
So what’s the connection to Aretha? Soul. And the ability to convey emotion and passion and life force and something important through music.
To me, soul is what’s missing in today’s mainstream music. It’s not elusive (ahem, Adele), but you don’t find it competing neck-in-neck with dubstep and the club bangers that frequent the airwaves.
Here’s the thing – soul is something I crave in my life.
I turn on Aretha, because I want to feel something. And I do. I feel something every single time I listen to the “Live in Paris” record.
I realize that I went to Allen Stone’s show Tuesday night, because I knew that he would make me feel something deep in my belly, my heart, all the way down to my toes.