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Backwoods hippie kid’ Allen Stone to belt R&B, soul on Columbus stage

Courtesy of Lonnie Webb

By first glance at Allen Stone, one might find it hard to believe he is an R&B and soul singer. He has wavy, blonde hair that falls to his shoulders, dresses in vintage clothing and dons thick-rimmed, grandfatherly glasses.

“I have really bad eyesight so the glasses are necessary,” Stone said. “A lot of people ask that, ‘Why don’t you cut your hair and put contacts in and look like every suave R&B singer?’ Well that’s not me, I don’t want to be a Justin Timberlake, I want to be Allen Stone.”

Stone is scheduled to perform Saturday at The Basement. Doors open at 7 p.m.

“This is me man. This isn’t an act … I’m a backwoods hippie kid from the Northwest, Seattle, Wash. This is how we dress and this is how I dress,” Stone said.

Marissa Luther, marketing manager for PromoWest Productions, said The Basement attempts to book a diverse lineup of performers and Stone fits nicely into that lineup.

“We’ve had him before and he’s great to work with and people enjoy his shows,” she said. “We’ll continue to bring him back as long as he continues to be popular on the market.”

Stone last performed at The Basement May 5.

Sixties and ’70s soul music artists such as Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye were just a few musicians Stone said influenced him growing up, but he did not discover those artists until he was a teenager.

“Somebody gave me a Stevie Wonder record when I was 15 and that was kind of the conception of where my love of soul music came from,” Stone said.

In 2009, he released his first album “Last to Speak” on his own label StickyStones Records.

“I didn’t have a distribution deal so I would sell them online and then I would sell them at shows,” Stone said. “It was definitely a difficult thing to do.”

Conan O’Brien welcomed Stone on his late-night talk show “Conan” Oct. 26, 2011, for his national television debut. He said playing on that large of a stage was “nerve-racking as hell.”

“You go into kind of a cold room and everyone is told to give you applause and, I don’t know, it’s weird,” Stone said. “It’s not the easiest place to perform, but it was a huge blessing and a great opportunity.”

After that opportunity more performances for major audiences proceeded, including on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Last Call with Carson Daly.” Since these performances, Stone signed with ATO Records. This is Stone’s first tour under ATO Records, and it kicked off Labor Day.

“I kind of felt like I hit a ceiling a little bit and that was kind of the point where I felt this was the right time to go the label,” Stone said. His self-titled album and first album under ATO released July 31.

Tickets for Saturday’s show can be purchased in advance through Ticketmaster and on the day of the show at The Basement for $15.50.

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