We’re quite fond of our January You Oughta Know artist, and it appears that the feeling is mutual. After Allen Stone included his visit to VH1 headquarters in the official video for current single “Sleep”–we’re blushing!–we’re more than tickled to be pulling back the curtain on his exclusive acoustic performance from within the cozy walls of YOK Live.
You Oughta Know
As we go to press tonight, the future of The Civil Wars is still very much up in the air. Back in November, the Grammy winning duo and You Oughta Know alumni abruptly canceled their planned slate of tour dates citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” However, December brought a shimmer of good news when the band’s manager posted a photo to Instagram of the band in the studio working on new material. Our fingers and toes are beginning to cramp after having them crossed for the last few months in hopes that we haven’t heard the last of John Paul White and Joy Williams, and today brought The Civil Wars faithful some more good news.
Today marks the release of The Civil Wars: Unplugged On VH1, a 7-song album that was recorded last spring when the band performed a knockout VH1 Unplugged set (while, we might add, Joy was pregnant). For the low low price of just five American dollars and 99 American cents, you can get your hands on a copy of the video AND audio of this truly memorable entry in the famed Unplugged canon. In addition to originals like “Barton Hollow” and “I’ve Got This Friend,” the set includes remarkable covers of Portishead‘s “Sour Times” and Michael Jackson‘s “Billie Jean” (the latter of which did not air in the original special!).
The weather may be dreary, but things are heating up here at VH1, thanks to the voice of January’s You Oughta Know artist, Allen Stone. The deeply soulful singer-songwriter brings a unique spin to everything from accessories to his blonde-haired, blue-eyed stamp on the rhythm & blues, capitalizing on the crave for funky, retro sound that has been so kind to acts like Amy Winehouse, Adele and Bruno Mars in recent years.
Having honed his performance skills before church pews in small town Washington, Stone has experience winning over crowds and is comfortable taking time to preach to the unconverted. Inspired by—and often compared to—Stevie Wonder, now he’s giving the likes of Miguel and JT a run for their money in the panty-dropping department thanks to his ability to blissfully distract us from everyday stresses with a rich timbre. His is also a warm and inviting sound that welcomes us in a cozy embrace, and encourages to stay put all winter long.
Ace VH1 photographer Lauren Weissler followed Stone throughout his whirlwind day here in New York City just before the holidays, which included which included a festive stop by Big Morning Buzz Live and some quality catch-up time with his cell phone. Check it out below.
This month we will shine the You Oughta Know spotlight on Allen Stone, an emergent soul singer-songwriter from Washington state who has forgone sleep in an effort to earn your attention. Or at least so he sings in “Sleep,” and given his recent grind — complete with stops at Leno and VH1 Big Morning Buzz Live, as well as that new music video he cut — we’re inclined to believe him.
This morning Stone dropped by The Ellen Show for a mid-morning howling of his aforementioned hustlers anthem. In her introduction, Ellen accurately likened him to Stevie Wonder and to Amy Winehouse, and we might add that he showed up in a Whitney Houston tee that looked rather well loved, which may explain some of his gospel tendencies. There weren’t any stars up in the early hour, but that didn’t seem to stop him from aiming high with his performance. And as always, he nailed it.
The most-cute moment came at the end of what we can only assume was a rousing set (the only sort Delta Rae know how to play, as far as we’re concerned). Elizabeth Hopkins and Brittany Hölljes hopped into the crowd and pulled Ian Höllje‘s girlfriend of seven-years onto the stage, Ian serenaded her with a verse before getting down on one knee — and this is where she, the band and the entire audience really lost it — to propose. Obvs she said yes, and then there was a lot of grinning, some more singing and a very happy couple caught kissing:
Last month The Civil Wars left their growing cadre of fans brokenhearted when they cut their North American tour short over “internal discord and irreconcilable difference of ambition.” However, we were touched by their generous return policy, and we were able to take solace in the fact that the announcement didn’t disqualify new Civil Wars music in the future. And so it seems a little time off the road was all it took to reconcile ambitions, because as Rolling Stone points out, the duo seem to be back at work on new music!
It’s not exactly an official announcement or anything, but last night Joy Williams let slip during a Twitter interview with Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy that she was in the studio and — better yet! — listening to new Civil Wars songs. Then later on in the evening, Williams’ husband and the band’s manager, Nate Yetton, posted a photo of a studio (above) with the caption that read “Today.” Good thing that Mayan Apocalypse was a bust, because 2013 is shaping up quite nicely.
Last night’s momentous date made for an equally momentous musical event: The Big & Best of 2012. The all-live, all-fun event collected the best music from the year, having some of our favorites perform in honor of the special date. 12/12/12 is a once in a lifetime date and The Big & Best of 2012 was a once in a lifetime event. Check out the top five performances from yesterday, and be sure to watch it all in its entirety over at MTV.
1. With 5(!) Grammy nominations this year, Miguel blowing up. Here’s “The Thrill” from his album, Kaleidescope Dream.
December’s You Oughta Know selection, Metric, hit the studio last month for a You Oughta Know Live session that included “Synthetica,” “Gimme Sympathy,” their latest Synthetica single “Breathing Underwater,” and a cover of Morrissey‘s “Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself.” Although they are usually four, James Shaw and Emily Haines held it down, paring their feathery and glamorous indie-rock down to just the bones. They made due with just a guitar and piano, and of course Haines’ voice, at once pitchy and girlish and worn and wizened by years of indie rock and rolling. The songs were stripped of their trademark glimmer but nice in their new delicacy, because beneath all that synth was always a aching skeleton, and this is exactly what they beautifully put on show for us.
Have you tuned in to watch the Big & Best of 2012 livestream yet? Thanks to our friends at T-Mobile, you can watch a steady stream of stars appear all day long over at bigandbestof2012.com. Miguel and A$AP Rocky have already done their thing, and if you check in at 5:15 PM ET you can catch the inimitable Grace Potter. Go check it out!
And be sure to stick around all-day for an amazing collection of performances from the likes of December 2012 You Oughta Know artist Metric, Bruno Mars and more., Bruno Mars and more. We’ve also got a fantastic VH1 Reality Roundtable on the docket for 6:00 p.m. ET/5C, featuring appearances from Mob Wives‘ Renee Graziano, Love & Hip Hop‘s Yandy Smith and Basketball Wives LA‘s star Jackie Christie. This extravaganza will run through 8 p.m. tonight over at bigandbestof2012.com!
Have you tuned in to watch the Big & Best of 2012 livestream yet? Thanks to our friends at T-Mobile, you can watch a steady stream of stars appear all day long over at bigandbestof2012.com. For instance, if you head over there at 5:30 p.m. ET, you can catch our December 2012 You Oughta Know artist Metric performing their very special You Oughta Know Live set. Their set will include a few tracks (“Breathing Underwater”, “Gimme Sympathy”, “Synthetica”) off of their new LP, Synthetica, as well as a cover of Morrissey‘s “Why Don’t You Find Out For Yourself.” Go check it out!
And be sure to stick around all-day for an amazing collection of performances from the likes of Grace Potter, Bruno Mars and more. We’ve also got a fantastic VH1 Reality Roundtable on the docket for 6:00 p.m. ET/5C, featuring appearances from Mob Wives‘ Renee Graziano, Love & Hip Hop‘s Yandy Smith and Basketball Wives LA‘s star Jackie Christie. This extravaganza will run through 8 p.m. tonight over at bigandbestof2012.com!