The title track opens up the record and it immediately speaks to anyone who has experienced some hard times in their life. The song talks about kids who cannot afford to leave their family home after college because it takes the whole family to try to keep the bills paid and quite honestly, the whole song fits with the ‘were in this together’ theme. The beautiful ballad “Smile” (a throwback to Elton John-style ballads) showcases Ty’s brilliant vocals and why I say he deserves to become a superstar a la Adele.
Single “Anywhere’s Better” shows Stone’s country/soul roots as he delivers a vocal about a man who is trying to figure out any way to get out of the small town that feels so suffocating to him. Melodic and appealing, “Anywhere’s Better” deserves a lot of radio airplay and it’s sure to get it in many areas, including his home area around Detroit. “Real Thing” is a good ole balls to the wall rock tune that’d have been a huge hit in the 1970s or 1980s (it’s GOOD) while “Bob Seger” finds a steel guitar-drenched mid-tempo ballad about a hard workin’ man and how some of his favorite singers can help make his world OK, even if he doesn’t have the money to go anywhere or buy things for his girlfriend. It also serves as a reminder of how powerful music and radio can be in anyone’s lives and how it’s really a low cost (or free from radio stations) entertainment option.
There’s really not a bad song to be found among American Style’s eleven songs and that’s something that rarely can be said these days. I hate to be coming back to Adele but that’s really the best artist to compare Ty to. While American Style isn’t the conceptual album that 21 was for Adele, it does showcase Ty Stone’s brilliant artistry and perhaps no song showcases this better than Blessed St. Anthony. It’s a pure old-school soul number which finds Ty taking us all to church as he sings about his hometown and all the things that matter to him the most and how that city and it’s people’s spirit are running through his blood every time he sings on the stage. It’s a fitting ending to a fantastic debut album from an artist that certainly deserves any and all praise he gets and hopefully this is just the start of a long and brilliant career from Ty Stone.