On July 24 English soul sister Joss Stone soared through a lively set at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. Stone originally emerged on the music scene as a fresh-faced teenager with a voice that packs a punch, and after delivering a favorable freshman album, she has not sat down. Her newest studio album Water for Your Soul — a heavily reggae influenced-record — drops on July 31. Her inspiration stems all the way back to her days working with Damien Marley in their supergroup SuperHeavy. Consequently, Stone is on the brink of a musical progression that honestly should have happened sooner.
In the live setting, Stone shines. Her vocal range carries so much depth. She is fearless when it comes to serving up her emotional baggage on a silver platter. With songs like “Could Have Been You” and “Karma,” she divulges those awkward and often woeful relationship low points all too many people experience. Despite the unfortunately dreary tales of heartbreak she expresses lyrically, Stone bears an unwavering smile through each song’s delivery. Perhaps her greatest excitement, however, comes to light when she peppers in some new songs. It seems a fresh perspective does well for her. “Molly Town” and “The Answer” show off her hip hop and reggae inspirations. The way she engages the crowd with such a passionate fervor for the music is utterly charming.
After belting out a wispy acoustic rendition of “Landlord,” Stone changes the pace with a medley of covers to which her brother Harry Stoker originally introduced her. This is only something you can hear her do at a live show. She fondly refers to it as “Harry’s Symphony” as it is a jammy collection of some of her favorite songs, including a nod to Inner Circle’s “Bad Boys” and Bob Marley. The audience is quite a hodgepodge of people, but everyone is receptive to the tangent. Stone livens up even more at this point. Her impassioned demeanor seeps into the audience as everyone joins her in dancing to the familiar tunes. It is clear this is her strong point. Her voice carries over the upbeat music so smoothly. She is truly at home in this moment. From here on out, it is a straight breeze through some of her more well-known records such as “Newborn” and “Fell in Love with a Boy.”
Stone embarked on her Total World Tour in April 2014 and expects it to last two or three years. The goal is to play a show in every country on the planet this time around — 204 to be exact. As she hits Europe on her second leg of the tour this summer, she plans to cross another thirteen or so countries off that mega list. Here’s hoping the barefooted songstress makes it back in one piece so “Harry’s Symphony” can have a sequel.
Super Duper Love
Could Have Been You
Stuck on You
I Put a Spell on You (Nina Simone cover)
Fell in Love with a Boy
Right to Be Wrong