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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Chewelah’s Stone shows world his soul

Since making his blip on the national radar recently, Chewelah’s own Allen Stone has been collecting major props around the country for his soul-dripping sound. He’s been praised by big-name media outlets and made appearances on the late-night TV circuit.

Now Stone, the self-proclaimed “hippy with soul” is coming home to play a show at 8 tonight at The Knitting Factory Concert House.

Here is what the national press has to say about Stone:

MTV: “Allow me to be blunt: Allen Stone has the best effing voice I’ve ever heard, and there’s no two ways about it. … And the public agrees: Allen’s new self-titled album hasn’t even been out a measly 48 hours, and it’s already No. 2 on iTunes’ R&B/Soul Charts.”

NPR: “The 24-year-old former church boy from tiny Chewelah, Wash. has just self-released his third album on iTunes, and it’s meant for those of us who like our R&B slightly unkempt and exceedingly feelingful.”

The New York Times: “Allen Stone, a 24-year-old Seattle songwriter, was an unabashed throwback when he performed at a packed S.O.B.’s on Wednesday night. He talked about cellphones and social networks and sang about, among other things, the clout of the Christian right and a culture of greed. But his music reached back four decades to the late 1960s and early ’70s, when songwriters like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Bill Withers brought introspection and social commentary to soul music.”

If you didn’t know by now, the rest of the country does; this kid from the sticks is the real deal.

Beardo by himself

You would think that being in five bands would be enough to keep one person busy.

But Josh Simon, aka Beardo, found enough free time early in the year to record his first full-length solo album, which he’s dropping at a CD Release Party tonight at Ugly Bettie’s, 211 N. Division St.

“I was going through a spell of not drinking had to find something to do besides going to the bars, right?” Simon, joked.

The album, “Jim Beam and Juliets,” features Beardo playing nearly all of the instruments on all nine tracks he self-recorded in his warehouse home/jam space/recording studio tucked in an industrial strip on Trent Avenue, where he keeps his arsenal of instruments, including numerous guitars, keyboards and drums.

“Jim Beam & Juliets” skips around from genre to genre. Throughout the record there are excursions into calypso, duel ‘n’ guitar rockin’ blues, triple-guitar psychedelia, and solo banjo-based bluegrass.

“I love being in other people’s bands but this was a chance to put my own vision out there for what it should sound like. I haven’t really been able to play tunes the way I’m hearing them in the bands I’m in right now. I guess I was just hungry for something where I can call all the shots. This is more guitar-oriented than most of the other groups I play in,” said Simon, who is currently playing with Spokane salsa band Son Dulce, regional rock trio Simon Tucker, local blues band Charlie Butts, area funk-jazz collective The Groove Patrol, and Peter Rivera of Rare Earth.

Beardo is joined on stage tonight by a six-piece band that features two drummers and is highlighted by guitarist Zac Fairbanks of The Booze Fighters. Music starts at 9:30, cover to be announced.

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