ALBUM LAUNCH REVIEW – A LIFE UNLIMITED (STONE FOUNDATION)
STONE FOUNDATION A LIFE UNLIMITED ALBUM LAUNCH REVIEW
Midlands based Stone Foundation recently launched their new album “A Life Unlimited” with a preview evening at the Brew Dog in Birmingham. Our LGA reviewer, Paul Wood, was there to catch a mini-acoustic set by the band and a DJ playback of the new album in full.
The launch evening was a free entry promotion with the full band in attendance and an excited group of loyal fans, friends and band associates who had headed into Birmingham, eager to hear the new album.
The mini-acoustic set primarily featured a 4 piece line of Neil Jones (vocals/guitar), Ian Arnold (keyboard), with Gareth John and Gary Rollins (horns). “Learning The Hard Way” was the set opener, and the quartet was then joined by Neil Sheasby and Rob Newton to add backing vocals to next song “Pushing Your Love”. The stage was then left to Gareth Johns and Ian Arnold for a rendition of the album’s closing instrumental track “Old Partners, New Dances”. Established favourite “To Find The Spirit” (with an intro based on “Tracing Paper”) saw the band back to a four piece and the crowd encouraged to sing along by front man Neil Jones. The short set was closed with a grooving version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”.
The whole event was filmed by the BBC and footage appeared on the next day’s “Midlands Today”. You can watch the clip here:
Following the set, the album received a full playback and copies were available to buy on the night from Bookshop Pete who handles the band’s merchandise desk.
Here’s a Youtube teaser for the album released on the band’s official site:
The album’s opening track “Beverley” was already familiar to most as the song features in a new film of the same name, produced by Cass Pennant and directed by Alexander Thomas. The film is about a mixed-race girl growing up in Leicester in the 2-Tone era with the key line being the repeated mantra of “the rules of the skin are wearing thin”. Here’s a link to the official video:
Next track “Pushing Your Love” is built up on the back up harmony vocals from The Four Perfections, and leads nicely into “Something In The Light” (echoes of Van Morrison) and “The Turnaround” which features classic 70s soul string sounds from The Q Strings.
The album then toughens up with the jazzier “Speak Your Piece” and “The Night Teller” (featuring Graham Parker). “Learning The Hard Way” sounds like a potential single and live favourite.
Both “These Life Stories” and “A Love Uprising” have strong bass lines, the latter wouldn’t sound out of place on ABC classic “Lexicon of Love”.
The album comes to a gentle close with melancholic instrumental “Old Partners, New Dances”.
Keen to avoid being pigeonholed, the band has made its own sound from a number of diverse influences. If you put Van Morrison, Dexys, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Womack, Nolan Porter, the Funk Brothers, Martin Fry and the jazzier early version of the E Street band into the studio with producer Andy Codling and songs written by Neil Jones and Neil Sheasby, when you put your ear to the studio wall, the sound that you would hear is the undisputably Modern soul sound of Stone Foundation.
Knowledge of the band has been steadily growing and the band has been championed by DJs Craig Charles and Robert Elms. Blistering live shows in the UK, Europe and Japan has built up the band’s media presence and the new album is already creating a buzz – in its first week it entered the UK vinyl chart Top 10, and broke into the Independent UK Top 30 Chart.
Album track list – A Life Unlimited
Pushing Your Love
Something In The Night
Speak Your Piece
The Night Teller
Learning The Hard Way
These Life Stories
A Love Uprising
Old Partners, New Dances
Bonus track on Japanese CD release:
The UK album cover is a painting by Horace Panter (The Specials) who also did the cover for their previous excellent album “To Find The Spirit”.
The album has come out on clear vinyl, black vinyl and CD. Early copies of the album were signed by the band and came with a 4 track bonus CD live in Germany. If there are any signed copies left you can get them here:
Otherwise the album is available from all regular stockists such as Amazon, HMV etc.
September/October sees the band touring the UK and Europe. They’ve got a London date at the Jazz Café on October 17th. Their previous show at the Jazz Café saw a sellout crowd see a fantastic show. Get your tickets for the upcoming show while you can…..
Blast From The Past
Here’s a link to the band’s promo video for “That’s The Way I Want To Live My Life” from their previous album “To Find The Spirit”