Birthdays present a natural landmark to reflect on our lives and how far we’ve come. Not only is local blues/roots guitarist and singer Marc Stone no exception, but he is going further and using his past to shape his future.
Stone has long been one of the premier blues guitarists in New Orleans, but now he is focusing more on his songwriting. “The shift in focus started as I realized my catalogue kept getting bigger and bigger,” says Stone. “I wanted to tighten up the set and fit in more songs. The performances are becoming more about letting the songs stand on their own without a lot of jamming, although there will always be a place for that.”
Stone is taking this approach into a pair of shows commemorating his birthday at the end of March. On Friday, March 30, Stone and his band will play d.b.a. The show will feature special guests John Mooney and Kirk Joseph and the debut of a new, currently untitled project featuring Stone, Darcy Malone and Little Maker frontman Micah McKee. Stone has frequently collaborated with both Malone and McKee over the years, and he wanted to incorporate both of their unique vocal and writing styles as he shifts his focus to songcraft. “This project is three very different flavors around the same axis,” says Stone.
The Marc Stone Band will also play at the Little Gem Saloon on March 31, serving as the backing band for Alana Davis, a childhood friend of Stone’s. Davis, who rose to fame during the folk/pop boom in the late 1990s with her debut album Blame It on Me, grew up with Stone in Greenwich Village. The show will be Davis’ first New Orleans performance in 20 years, and the opportunity to work with Davis brings Stone full circle. “Alana and I used to share songs before either of us had careers,” reflects Stone, citing his recent work with Davis as contributing to his focus on songwriting.
Stone’s new direction is already paying off, as evident in his latest single “Digitized.” Anchored by an all-star supporting cast supporting Stone’s slippery acoustic blues groove, “Digitized” delivers a scathing critique of the misinformation put forth through online “news” sources. “The song really marries my roots and blues background with songcraft and message,” says Stone of the track, whose video features provocative images of both President Trump and children glued to iPhone screens to drive the point home.
“Digitized” is emblematic of where Stone is at this point in his life and career. He is wringing new life out of old relationships, using the familiar to forge a new path. As Stone turns one year older, his past is helping make his future brighter than ever.
FQFIQ: Friday, April 13,
Tropical Isle Stage