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Joss Stone 

Old Soul

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When Joss Stone first broke on to the American music scene in 2003 it was with a tune that wasn't necessarily her own. Covering a White Strips mega-hit, she burst into our consciousness crooning about how she'd fell in love with a boy and most of us were instantly in love with those soulful vocals that seemed just a tad too mature for a girl of only 16.

The album that track appeared on also happened to be her first hit record, and though that amalgam was released almost 10 years ago, she's recently followed it up with The Soul Sessions Volume 2. It's that record she'll be supporting when she drops in to the Royal Oak Music Theatre on 10/2 and it is, yet again, a record filled with cover tunes she's made all her own.

And while the songs that she covers do tend to stick within the genre of soul, which also just so happens to be Stone's favorite type of tune (with those vocal chords...go figure, right?), she finds a lot of inspiration in other forms of popular music as well.

"Recently one of the favorite songs is 'Somebody That I Used to Know.' I heard it and I thought, 'Goodness, me! I really like that.' I'd love to cover that song and make it a soul record. It's the content, you know, it's just so, so sad," says Stone.

But, according to Stone, just because a song happens to be classified as pop or rock or whatever other name or category we like to assign to types of music, that doesn't mean it isn't a soul record. Which seems to be a fact that lends itself to the reason she finds Gotye's ubiquitous hit to be just so enthralling.

"I really like any music that has feeling to it. For me that's soul music, so to me anything can be soul music," she says.

With a long list of collaborations under her belt, Stone's performed and recorded with legends like James Brown, Patti LaBelle and Santana and was even in a pretty ridiculously awesome super group, the likes of which won't be matched for a long time.

Superheavy, a band formed by the co-founder of the Eurythmics, Dave Stewart, and filled out by Stone, Mick Jagger, A.R. Rahman and Damian Marley was a different exercise in music, according to Stone.

"I got to experience a lot of different sounds. My voice really got pushed into a lot of different directions," says Stone. And although she's a superpower in and of herself, Stone says she couldn't help but be intimidated by the whole thing.

"Before I went in, I thought I hope they don't regret this. They all play their instruments and I'm just this girl. I just sing," says Stone.

The band released one record almost a year ago exactly, which peaked on charts the world over and though they're now on hiatus and have no plans to reconvene, Stone says she's up for a reunion as soon as she gets a call. For the time being she's been inspired to make a new kind of record after working with a particular member of the group, Damian Marley to be exact.

Currently working on a reggae album, Stone says the process has been a lot different than when she'd normally head into the studio to put out a new set of tracks.

"The way I've been making records of late, I like to do it really quickly. The first thought is the best thought, you know?" says Stone. "But with this record, I've actually spent a lot more time on it. I guess that's the reggae vibe. There hasn't actually been a real recording session."

Whether she's making solo records, working with super groups or finding her way into an entirely new way to jam, we'd put money on it that Stone's going to have a long, long career in music and the show she'll put on this Saturday is just one stop along the way. | RDW

Joss Stone • 10/6, 7:30 p.m. • Royal Oak Music Theatre • 318 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak • royaloakmusictheatre.com • 248.399.2980 • $27.50/$30

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