Allen Stone

At first glance, Chewelah, Wash., native Allen Stone might look like another wayward neo-hippie from the Pacific Northwest who missed the boat when Jerry Garcia died. But don’t be fooled: the curly topped, bespectacled Stone’s musical lineage owes far more to Al Green, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye than The Grateful Dead.

He grew up a preacher’s kid surrounded by gospel and socially conscious folk music but didn’t discover the pantheon of classic soul until his teens.

Photo: John Davisson

Without the help of a label, agent or publicist, Stone put together a band and hit the road in a van, playing any place that would have him. In true DIY fashion, he built a fan base one tiny club at a time – catching the ear of then-independent manager B.J. Olin. 

Stone no longer has to divide his attention between his music and the logistics of his career. Olin and Stone have since joined the team at Red Light Management and ATO Records, which releases Stone’s eponymous second album July 31.

Stone’s been taking his rousing live show to fans for the last year with the help of agent Jaime Kelsall of APA – including a July 19 appearance at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles opening for none other than idol Al Green.

With the help of Nederlander Concerts, Kelsall was able to get Stone’s music into Green’s hands, and soul/gospel legend quickly agreed to add the newcomer to the bill.

“He was so thrilled,” Kelsall told Pollstar. “He told me not to laugh at him because he just knew he was going to cry on stage to be opening for Al Green.”

But there’s no question Stone worked hard to get there.

“He’s made huge strides in the last year. It’s pretty amazing to watch,” Kelsall said. “He literally hasn’t been home for a week since we started working with him. He’s been nonstop touring, opening for people, playing small clubs … the kid has worked his butt off nonstop.”

Photo: AP Photo

And Stone knows the importance of building an audience.

“If he has an opportunity to hang out at a festival for an extra day, he doesn’t want to hear about it,” Kelsall added. “He wants to be booked at a small club in a secondary market, so he can start building that market. He’s all about working.”