New Music Discovery | Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley has one of the most unusual stories you’ll find in the world of music. The guy hitchhiked across the country, worked odd jobs and played small shows for more than 20 years before he finally caught his break. Oddly, Bradley was discovered by his record label while performing as a James Brown impersonator named “Black Velvet.” Bradley, who is 64-years-old, now performs under his real name, and he just released a new album called Victim of Love.

Bradley is referred to as ”The Screaming Eagle of Soul.” Take one listen to his music and you’ll see exactly where the nickname comes from. Bradley’s incredible pipes quickly take you back to the heyday of 1960s soul music. He turned out several singles starting in 2002, but Charles Bradley didn’t release his debut album (entitled No Time For Dreaming) until 2011 (when he was 62). This is Bradley’s song ‘The World (Is Going Up In Flames)’:

Now, Charles Bradley is revealing his new material on Victim of Love. His song ‘Hurricane’ is currently the Single of the Week on iTunes (download it here). Bradley’s second studio album (recorded with the Menahan Street Band) is already receiving rave reviews. The Boston Globe calls Victim of Love “powerful,” while Billboard says the album is ”intense.” ’Strictly Reserved For You’, ‘Victim of Love’ and ‘Dusty Blue’ are sure to be the most popular jams on Bradley’s new release.

Even if you don’t dig his music, I encourage you to read about Bradley’s past (click here to check out the bio on his website). His story is so incredible that it’s been turned into a documentary called Charles Bradley: Soul of America. The film debuted at SXSW last year. Luckily, someone took notice of Charles Bradley when they did — otherwise he would have wallowed away in a small club impersonating someone else. We would have never heard his voice. ”The Screaming Eagle of Soul” arrived on the scene late in life, but as they say, it’s better late than never.

Have you ever listened to Charles Bradley? What do you think of his music? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and . Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for the latest in the world of music, sports and travel!

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I can’t say I listen to a ton of soul music, but Allen Stone is definitely starting to push me into the soul scene. I was already a big fan of Stone before this week, but after meeting him and watching him perform live, I’m a huge fan of Allen Stone now.

Allen Stone Easy Street Records SeattleI just caught Allen Stone at a free in-store performance at Easy Street Records in Seattle. Even though it was a hot, crammed, little music store, it was an awesome atmosphere for a show. There were honestly no more than 350 people in the building, and Stone treated it like any other large venue he’s rocked. The store apparently told Stone he could only play for 30 minutes, but Stone says he told them “f%#@ that” and played for more than an hour and twenty minutes.

Stone played most of his own stuff  from his rereleased self-titled debut album (‘Celebrate Tonight‘, ‘Sleep‘, etc.), but he also strayed off the beaten path a couple of times. The first time Allen Stone covered ‘Six Years’ by Tingsek (a song that’s actually on his vinyl album), and the second time he rocked ‘Is This Love‘ by Bob Marley. Aside from the end of the show, Stone received his biggest ovation after ’Is This Love’. The crowd literally brought (or nearly brought) Stone to tears.

This is video I shot of Allen Stone rocking ‘Six Years’ at the performance…

I’ve listened to Allen Stone’s album too many times now (because it’s rad), but I honestly think Stone is even better live than he is on CD. You don’t lose anything in his live performance (the guy still has killer pipes) like you might with some musicians. In fact, I think you gain a lot watching Allen Stone live. His music has tons of feeling (as does most soul music — hence the name), but you can really see the feeling when Stone is on stage. Plus, it’s cool to see such a quirky dude rock a microphone.

Allen Stone keeps the crowd jamming throughout his show as well. Whether it was asking you to be background singers for ‘Say So’ (Say so! Say so! Say so!), grabbing a loved one for ‘Your Eyes’, or even forcing you to dance (he says it’s something he does at every show), Stone keeps you active during his performance. The best word to describe it — fun.

Tim Lewis KOMO Allen Stone Tove Tupper SeattleAfter the show Stone met with fans for pictures and autographs. He said he wanted to meet everyone — whether they wanted to hug him or slap him in the face. I didn’t wait for him after the show, because I actually ran into Allen Stone on the streets of Seattle. My friend Tove and I were strolling down 5th Avenue when we spotted Stone outside of a store. I’m not one to make a big deal about celebrities, but I have a mutual friend with Stone, so we went up to say hello. The guy is awesome. He’s just a normal dude who loves to sing. He’s definitely getting more popular though, because several people approached him on the street before and after us.

I have a feeling a year from now Allen Stone won’t be this easy to access. He’s now signed with Dave Matthew’s record label ATO Records, and his career is ready for take off. I can’t imagine Stone will be playing too many more music stores in Seattle anytime soon. It’s fun to meet/see a guy before he gets big — and BIG is definitely in Allen Stone’s future.

Are you an Allen Stone fan? Have you seen him perform live? What do you think of his album? I’m curious to know what your opinion is. Leave a comment right here or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and/or Google+. Don’t forget to check out more of my music posts right now on http://allaroundtim.com!