Graham Stone Music is the current solo project of Graham McCune Stoll. Currently based in Richmond, Virginia, Graham recorded and released "Until the Day"--an album with ten songs that marked his first solo effort.
Released independently and comprised entirely of original songs from both past and present, Until the Day is an offering that spans a full decade of songwriting.
“Some of these songs were written 10 years ago and some of them were written out on the road with Aubrey the same year I recorded the album.”
The song Flowers in Montana is a road song; written during a trek through Glacier National Park. “It’s really a song to my daughter Katrianna. I'll never forget the overwhelming need to get those words down on paper. Looking at it now, the song kind of visits the concepts of age and memory. Loneliness and togetherness. Life and death. And all of that just kind of poured itself out of me over the course of a few minutes.”
Juxtapose that against a song like Meaningless--one Graham wrote nearly ten years ago while living in Charlottesville and you’ll have a picture of the continuum this album finds itself spanning. “Meaningless is a kind of story about a man coming to the end of his life and recognizing that much of what he’s given himself to doesn’t really matter once he’s gone. But it’s written through the eyes of a young person who still might be able to learn some from the older man's realization. I think a couple years back I saw myself somehow as a mix up of those two characters and knew that I wanted to try and make sure the rest of my life was lived less in the futility and meaninglessness that sort of haunts the old man.”
The lyrics and demeanor of this music offer an honesty and a sort of welcoming that directly connect the listener with each song as a story. You can tell straight away that his music was influenced by folk music storytellers like Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and John Prine. It's also easy to draw stylistic comparisons to modern Americana singer-songwriters like the Avett Brothers or Jason Isbell. But when you ask Graham himself, he actually cites songwriters like Thrice's Dustin Kensrue and Hot Water Music's Chuck Ragan.
"Growing up, I was raised on bluegrass music and the blues. From Ralph Stanley, The Carter Family, Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs to guys like BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Lightning Hopkins. That was stuff my dad listened to, so those are my earliest musical memories. But I remember first hearing the Sex Pistols when I was about twelve and all I remember thinking was that I wanted to listen to songs like that! Ones that I could play easy that were exciting and loud and fast. So I listened to everything I could get my hands on that fit that category and my teen days were spent primarily listening to punk and metal bands. A few of the artists that I would still consider some of my biggest influences today are songwriters from bands I was listening to in high school. Thanks to the songwriters from bands like Thrice and Hotwater Music where now Dustin and Chuck also have solo careers with kind of a different sound but you still get a lot of that same spirit."
But when asked about his current favorites, Graham goes back to his roots again.
"I think some of the most important ways people find meaning is in stories that help explain or simply just express the human condition. And my favorite kind of songs are basically just stories with musical accompaniment. Some of the best stories in the world have been written by songwriters and are still being told today. Throughout human history songs and stories have been a way for oral traditions to be passed down. So for me, I owe a lot to John Hurt, Doc Watson, Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris and John Prine. And it's so inspiring to see how folks today are still carrying the torch. Songs about life and death and joy and sadness, those are songs about being human. Songs that still say something, you know? That kind of stuff influences my songwriting a whole lot and it's somewhere in my own songs and stories that I find myself in what feels to be like my natural home. I want to keep getting better at saying things and telling stories. Until the Day has songs that are stories are about people, some are about places. Some of the stories are true in a very literal sense and some of them aren't at all. But writing these songs and playing music helps me remember who I'm meant to be."