A 24-year-old singer from Chewelah found himself firmly in the Top Ten of the national R&B/Soul charts this week.
Allen Stone released his self-titled sophomore album on Tuesday. By Thursday, the album was hovering at No. 3 on the iTunes R&B/Soul charts.
You might call him the Stevie Wonder of Stevens County.
Stone, who used to sing in the Chewelah church of his minister dad, is getting loads of big time national buzz. Billboard’s online column “The Juice” compared him to Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke. Stone more modestly describes himself in the same column as “a peculiar looking human being who sings soul music.”
The homegrown quality of his music is part of the appeal. His hit YouTube video for the song “Unaware” is billed as “Live From His Mother’s Living Room.”
Yet there’s nothing amateur about the music’s production values. Stone has been honing his sound and his voice for years.
Back in 2006, our own Isamu Jordan wrote about the then-19-year-old minister’s son from Chewelah. He was playing open mikes at Rock Coffee and Sonic Burrito.
Now he’s touring all over the country and doing interviews with Billboard and CNN. He’s also mulling over record deals, because, as he told Billboard, you can only “get so far” as an independent artist.
He’s been spending most of his time touring up and down the West Coast, but he’ll return to Spokane on Friday, 8 p.m., for a show at Whitworth University’s HUB Multi-Purpose Room. It’s free for Whitworth students, $5 for the general public at the door.
The ‘IMMORTAL’ verdict
“ Michael Jackson: The IMMORTAL World Tour” had its world premiere in Montreal last Sunday, and the critics said the MJ-loving audience got its money’s worth.
Pat Donnelly of the Montreal Gazette said the opening performance of this Cirque du Soleil production was full of “high energy dancing and acrobatics, plenty of razzle dazzle, tons of ingenuity and lots of carefully selected video clips of Jackson himself.”
“All is deftly rearranged, using live music and Jackson’s recorded voice,” wrote Donnelly. “The audience is overwhelmed with images, some of them on screens, others created through manipulation of quirky props, like a mega-sized white glove, a huge Jackson hat that conceals several dancers or a pair of giant shoes and socks, with dancers inside.”
The Hollywood Reporter’s Etan Vlesing said “it will have the late pop star’s fans cheering and his detractors scratching their heads.” Apparently, it’s all somewhat of a, yes, circus. But a circus with ultra-high production values.
The show is on the way to the Spokane Arena on Nov. 12, 8 p.m. and Nov. 13, 4 p.m. Tickets range from $50 to $175, available through TicketsWest outlets (800-325-SEAT or www.ticketswest.com).
Sandpoint ‘Early Bird’ sale
The Festival at Sandpoint is now selling its 2012 Early Bird Season Passes for $179 each – which calculates to about $22 for each of eight concerts.
That’s a heckuva deal — about a 40 percent to 50 percent discount over individual prices.
The only catch? The lineup has not yet been announced. You’re buying blind.
Obviously, fans have been willing to take the risk in previous years. All 700 season passes typically sell out well before the lineup is announced in May.
Buy them online at www.FestivalAtSandpoint.com or by calling (888) 265-4554.
An ‘Aladdin!’ opening
The Spokane Children’s Theatre’s 66th season will open on Saturday with a magic carpet ride: “Disney’s Aladdin!”
This live musical version of the animated movie features Patrick McGruder in the title role, Courtney Brewer as Jasmine, Dustin Sorrell as Jafar and Carl Vincent as the Genie.
The show runs Oct. 15, 16 and 22 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. at Spokane Falls Community College, 3410 Ft. George Wright Drive, Music Building (No. 15). Tickets are $10 for children and $12 for adults, available through TicketsWest outlets.