BLACK STONE CHERRY – Family Tree (2018)
Kentucky flamethrowers Southern Hard Rock quartet known as BLACK STONE CHERRY are fired up for the release of their sixth studio album, “Family Tree“, arriving on Friday, April 20, 2018”.
Black Stone Cherry doesn’t just “perform” on this record, they testify. This self-produced wonder will remind anyone of a certain vintage of everything they miss about hard-hitting classic rock and it’ll make the more fresh-faced listeners among us finally understand what they’ve been missing in today’s metronome EDM and by-the-numbers pop.
In a less compartmentalized era, this album might likely turn into a generational touchstone from that “Best Summer Ever” in 2018.
The new album opens with the blistering “Bad Habit.” Give ‘em the hook with big dual guitars played by Ben Wells and Chris Robertson and a few subtle sonic surprises, then halfway through, yank the whole tempo and groove 90 degrees to the left so that any lightweights who can’t hang, just slide off into oblivion. This short and sweet (only 3:15 min) album opener is swaggering and unapologetic, in all the right ways.
Next up “Burnin” also advances the Black Stone Cherry agenda, which is, as always–kick some rock/roll ass.
“New Kinda Feeling” continues with a razor sharp ZZ Top vibe that compliments Robertson’s vocals, which here especially, sound as good as Robert Palmer at his best. The drums and bass of John Fred Young and Jon Lawhon, also rock solid throughout, lock in especially tight on “Carry Me On Down The Road”.
Black Stone Cherry widens the sonic pallet on “My Last Breath” while hewing closer and closer to the band’s core truths. Easing into this album standout with naked vocals and ethereal organ tones, this ode to home and family will crack your heart open before they even get to the male/female background call-and-response. Another winner, just waiting to become a classic.
On “Southern Fried Friday Night” some of the band’s modern tendencies and techniques manage to compliment the absolutely classic “let’s raise some hell after a long week” themes on this dialed-in party anthem for the people. Not that they need any help, but next up, Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes adds some additional guitar scorch on “Dancing in The Rain.”
…And then they throw you another couple of curveballs.
“James Brown” is pure swampy funk rock with plenty of good stank on it. From the “oh-hoo” back-up vocals between sections to the searing wah-wah guitar break, you can’t help but shake what God gave ya. I don’t think the Godfather of Soul would disapprove.
The funk groove gets harder edged and uncompromising on “You Got The Blues.” Between the dueling guitars and the brick-cracking beat, all I can say is–mission accomplished.
On “I Need a Woman” and “Get Me Over You” you’re believing every note from the band, wondering why you’ve ever let yourself buy a car with fewer than eight cylinders.
The breakdown bridge in the middle of “Get Me Over You” gives you the slightest of breathers – your first in several songs – but you better breathe fast because they’re pumped back up to eleven before most bands could find the distortion box again.
The album closer is also the title track, “Family Tree” the perfect song to send you back into a world that you now know desperately needs more outstanding rock and roll.
When Black Stone Cherry released their debut several year ago I thought “this is just another modern rock band adding some classic rock touches to sound cool’. Their sixth album “Family Tree” proves I was wrong.
Black Stone Cherry 2018 are true classic rock, it’s organic, honest, and credible. This new album packs some killer rock n’ roll tunes and hot musicianship
It is, seriously, that impressive.
01 – Bad Habit
02 – Burnin’
03 – New Kinda Feelin’
04 – Carry Me On Down The Road
05 – My Last Breath
06 – Southern Fried Friday Night
07 – Dancin’ In The Rain (feat. Warren Haynes)
08 – Ain’t Nobody
09 – James Brown
10 – You Got The Blues
11 – I Need A Woman
12 – Get Me Over You
13 – Family Tree
Chris Robertson – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Ben Wells – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals
Jon Lawhon – bass, backing vocals
John Fred Young – drums, percussion, piano, backing vocals