Robert Stoner: Year of Pain

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ROBERT STONER: YEAR OF PAIN
This episode of Big Blend Radio features Berkley, California singer-songwriter Robert Stoner, who has just released his debut album “Year of Pain.”  Watch here in the YouTube player or listen on SoundCloud or Podbean.

 

Robert Stoner (Bob) has written and performed music for many years, and now with the help of producer Ben Bernstein is set to release his debut album YEAR OF PAIN, which he wrote and recorded over the last year. This impressively strong debut showcases his personal and nuanced grappling with issues ranging from the specific challenges of children growing up and keeping a marriage fresh, to the trials and tribulations of our modern times.

The brother of a professional violinist in New York City, Bob comes from a very musical family (one of his cousins even won the Tchaikovsky Competition in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, to great national acclaim). Despite the fact YEAR OF PAIN is his debut release, he is a prolific songwriter who has been writing songs his whole life, and he is already hard at work on his next release. “My songs seem to come in a pretty constant stream,” says Bob. “Songwriting to me is an ongoing process of listening, discovery, fleshing out of ideas, honing and sharpening, and trying to maintain or enhance the original creative energy through the production phase.”

Maintaining a day job as an economist means the songwriting process has not always been straightforward for Bob, but the left and right sides of his brain have fully coalesced on YEAR OF PAIN, resulting in a musical experience that is both provocative and enjoyable for the listener. He worked with Ben Bernstein at Ben Bernstein Music to produce the album, and Ben also contributed lead and electric guitar to the songs. YEAR OF PAIN also features vocal and instrumental contributions from singer-songwriter Maya Elise, and drums and percussion from Mike Stevens. Adding to the personal nature of the album is the artwork painted by Bob’s daughter Lily Stoner, who also contributed vocals on the release.

The songs on YEAR OF PAIN run the gamut from personal reflections on kids moving on in life (“Just a Riverboat”) or relationship difficulties (“Wait Until the Morning”) to commentary on the present state of ethics in the political realm (“The Principle”) and the difficulties that have become ingrained in our modern era (“Year of Pain”). The song that leads off the album (“Just a Riverboat”) and the song that ends it (the title track “Year of Pain”) each hold special significance for Bob. “Just a Riverboat” reflects on the time his daughter Lily went off to college back East by way of a trip to New Orleans with friends. It was an exciting moment and an important milestone in her (and Bob’s!) life, and the New Orleans imagery provided the perfect backdrop for the song. “Year of Pain” is a song that sums up the difficult times we live in, with political dysfunction, gun deaths, and growing intolerance leading the list.

ROBERT STONER has many influences in his songwriting, but his sound is uniquely his own. This comes from his eclectic taste in music (which includes everything from classical to showtunes to folk and blues), as well as a relatively long period of time spent amalgamating these influences before his debut album. People have said his songs have echoes of Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, and Bob Dylan – “I don’t know about that, but I will take the compliment!” says Bob. YEAR OF PAIN showcases Bob Stoner’s writing in the singer-songwriter genre, but he also composes fully instrumental music for the piano and has plans to release an album of that music as well.

More: https://robertstoner.bandcamp.com

National Parks Arts Foundation

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ROBERT STONER has many influences in his songwriting, but his sound is uniquely his own.

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