Stone Horses’ self-titled debut EP is a perfect blend of the swampy blues of the South with a truly modern rock groove. The songs are powered by singer-songwriter John Allen’s dark melodies, huge choruses, and witty lyrics. Drawing on everything from the early blues pioneers to Jack White and Chris Cornell, STONE HORSES has crafted a sound that is undeniable and infectious. Songs like “Believe,” “Flirting With The Devil,” “Weiland,” and first single “Reckless Ways” cleverly capture the spirit of the band in a sonic package of raw emotion. “We just want to make music that is timeless” states Allen. “Writing songs about the human condition is what I like to do. Love, hate, struggle and triumph are themes I want to convey.”
From Baltimore, MD, STONE HORSES was founded in 2016 by 19 year-old guitarist Teddy Merrill and vocalist John Allen. “Teddy was this teenage kid playing in a School of Rock band that opened for one of my other bands a few years back” states Allen. “I was impressed and kept in touch. He’s an interesting cat… he’s a very old soul. He’s a very serene kid. It’s as if he’s a 70 year-old walking around in a 19 year-old body.”
The band gives nods to heavy blues but at the same time is looking to take rock music into the future. “When I started this project my original intent was to play drums and sing from the front of the stage but I soon realized that was too confining” states Allen. “I love to have freedom to roam the stage. Anyway, about a year ago I started with our song ‘Reckless Ways’ and soon collaborated with Teddy and Vic Carrera with them adding some tasty guitar riffs throughout. By the time we decided on the name STONE HORSES, we were joined by my favorite rhythm section of Anthony Arambula and Ja- son Heiser on drums.”
The EP was produced and mixed by Allen at his home studio over the course of sever- al months. “The recording process wasn’t all that conventional” states Allen. “As we write the song, I build the tracks as we go. In one instance Vic tracked guitars at his house and emailed them to me. Technology man… not like the old days.”
The 6 tracks on the EP are fueled by the memorable riffs and hook-laden melodies that timeless songs are made of. Allen’s throaty yet sultry voice is intimately connected to his hard rock roots, meshing perfectly with Merrill’s swaggering guitar riffs and the tight rhythm section of bassist Arambula and drummer Heiser to create a mixture of vintage Southern rock n roll aggression that at times sounds like a new-millennium version of Robert Johnson meets Soundgarden meets The Black Crows.
When asked about the music, Allen offers his insight on a few of the songs.
“Reckless Ways” – To me this song, lyrically, is about being raised Catholic, There’s loads of guilt in my upbringing. But, I am questioning whether there really is a guy up there in the clouds or are we masters of our own morality… I believe the latter.
“Believe” – This song is about where we are today in the United States. It’s about eve- ryday people who are disillusioned. It’s about class warfare, racism, opioid addiction and weak leaders who lie to us day-in and day-out. We just need someone or some- thing to look to for guidance…
“Weiland” – A stream of consciousness experiment in creative writing. I’m talking about my failures and everyone’s failures as humans. The frailty of the human condition in 3 minutes…
“Flirting With The Devil” – This song was written in the heat of the Presidential cam- paign last summer. To me the lyrics could apply to either one that was running but de- pending if you are red or blue you might think differently.
STONE HORSES’ debut was released August 18th via Broken World Records and dis- tributed by Digital Sound Records / Kobalt Music.