Photo Credit: Harry Reese
It seems like only yesterday I was listening to Black Stone Cherry's second album Folklore and Superstition on heavy rotation, but on fact checking for this review it is actually ten years since the bands magnificent sophomore album was released.
Now signed to the Mascot Label Group, this Friday (April 20th) see's the release of the bands sixth studio album, Family Tree. The much-anticipated follow up to 2016's Kentucky, which debuted at #5 on the Official UK Album Chart. Much as their last album, the bands new opus is self-produced at Barrick Recording Studio in Glasgow, KY, and the same studio where the four-piece recorded their eponymous debut.
In keeping with band tradition, Family Tree boasts Black Stone Cherry's ever present 13 songs, and like all previous releases, features song writing contributions from each member. So what can you expect from Family Tree?
As ever that southern rock groove fills the room as Bad Habit, the album opener blasts through your stereo. Those juicy, luscious guitar licks built around that unique voice of Chris Robertson, unmistakably Black Stone Cherry from the outset.
The first single from the record, Burnin', has already seen a video release and will be familiar to you all. Dripping in a bluesy feel, Chris' vocals again lead the way with wondrous dual guitars melding for a sound reminiscent, a little, of the megastars in ZZ Top.
Southern Fried Friday Night stands out, a rock and roll gem, hidden amongst an album full of deep south classics. Upbeat, in your face and with commercial appeal by the bucket full. A future radio classic for sure and when they hit the road, this is going to be the fan favourite. Roll over White Trash Millionaire, there’s a new anthem in town!
Dancin’ In The Rain features a guest appearance from Warren Haynes (he of Gov’t Mule and The Allman Brothers band fame). His vocal and musical influence on the song oozes through, the blues driven number you’d expect from both BSC and Haynes, but given an added depth and feel we’ve not experienced before.
Throughout the lead vocals always stand out to me, they have that edge, that twist that gives the band a feel like no other. However in Get Me Over You, the guitars come to the forefront. Heavier, more raucous but in perfect keeping with the rest of the album.
To close off, track number 13 gives the record its title, Family Tree. In an album that has so far been all killer, no filler the title track does not let the sound down either. The southern influence of so many bands, including drummer John Fred Young’s fathers outfit, The Kentucky Headhunters', comes through. This number is all about their roots, where they’ve come from and the influences are there to be lapped up in abundance.
For the Black Stone Cherry fans out there, Family Tree will not disappoint. Full of the bands unique sound, keeping with tradition yet a progression from their previous releases. This is Southern Rock and Roll at its all time best!