As I said in a previous post, Bluegrass Underground is a must see venue. 333 feet below the surface in McMinnville, TN, this natural concert hall provides the perfect setting for intimate shows. Recently, when an Allen Stone concert was announced for Bluegrass Underground, we knew we had to go. Please note: This post may contain affiliate links.
When we first lined up to wait for the doors to open, we were greeted by Chloe Kat performing outside. She delivered a solid set (despite the chill) switching between original works and great covers. Between her bell bottoms, folksy tunes, and great selection of cover material, for a minute, It was difficult to tell if it was 2016 or 1968. Since she is a local artist, I hope to catch a few more of her shows around town. Check out her album “Illusions of a Muse” here
Once we got inside the cave and took our seats, Moorea Masa was the first act to take the stage. She has worked with many artists including the Decemberists, Allen Stone, and El Vy as a featured and back up vocalist. Her performance was excellent. Although I wasn’t familiar with her work before the show, I plan to dig into it a now. Get her Album “Oh Mother” here
King Charles was up next. This guy traveled all the way from London and seemed right at home underground. He is a classically trained vocalist turned singer songwriter. He pushed through a solid set with some impressive guitar work. I will likely add a few of his songs to my playlist. Grab his album “Gamble for a Rose” here
Finally it was time for what we came here for. Allen Stone was up and man did he deliver. He started off with a hilarious story about his first gig driving a bands Econoline 3500 from Seattle to Chicago, having a run in with the law, and a bribe that turned out to just be bail. Then he continued to mix great storytelling, a powerful message of community and empathy, and great music throughout the night.
If you aren’t familiar with Allen Stone, his website describes him as a Soul/R&B singer, but he sees himself as “a hippie with soul”. He is from a small town in Washington near Spokane and the child of a nurse and a Preacher. He got his musical start at his fathers church as a young child and by 18 he had moved to Seattle to begin his music career. Allen is heavily influenced by 60’s and 70’s R&B musicians like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Sam Cook. Get his album “Radius” here
I wanted this show to go on all night. Al (he said we could call him Al) punctuated his performance with hilarious and powerful stories. His cover of Sam Cook’s “Change is Gonna Come” followed by Stone’s “American Privilege” was one of the high points for me. The most powerful moment (for me) came as he began performing a song he wrote with Tingsek called “I know that I wasn’t Right”. He told the story of its spontaneous creation and some of the meaning behind it. It’s not my story to tell, and frankly I think I would butcher it. When you get a chance to go to one of his shows go, and you just might hear it, and you just might cry. Below is a video of the song from a different performance.
Ultimately this was a beautiful concert that has moved me from a casual listener of Allen Stone to a absolute fan. Any chance I get to see him I will. I left this show feeling better than I have in sometime. They say music heals, if that is the case then Allen Stone is one of the finest doctors around.
What about you? Did you make it to this show? Have you seen an Allen Stone Concert before? Have you been to the Bluegrass Underground before? Tell us in the comments.