Black Stone Cherry
Kentucky rockers Black Stone Cherry employ a fiery mix of rootsy hard rock and hard-hitting post-grunge/heavy metal that invokes names like Stone Sour, Theory of a Deadman, Buckcherry, and Shinedown. Woolly, dirty, and uncompromising, the band's self-released Rock N' Roll Tape in 2003 netted the attention of Roadrunner, which signed them after witnessing audience reactions to their endless touring. Their self-titled debut for the label appeared in 2006 to rave reviews from the rock press. 2011's Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea, produced by Howard Benson, was celebrated for its gritty attack on tunes such as "White Trash Millionaire" and "Killing Floor" and the country swagger on the honky tonk blues of "Let Me See You Shake." After leaving Roadrunner for Mascot in 2016, they issued the back-to-basics crunch & roll of Kentucky. For 2018's Family Tree, they recorded at the same studio as their self-titled debut back in 2006. According to the bandmembers, none of whom were born before 1983, the lack of anything to do in their hometown, coupled with a rich musical background in their community and families, led them to start playing music. Lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Robertson met drummer John Fred Young (the son of Kentucky Headhunters' Richard Young) in school, and the two played music together throughout high school. In June of 2001, Black Stone Cherry officially formed with guitarist Ben Wells and bassist Jon Lawhon. They began holding shows at clubs in the area, and after a short while they gained a large all-ages following. The band recorded its first album for In de Goot/Roadrunner Records, and after returning from the recording session, Black Stone Cherry held a homecoming concert at the local high school. Their self-titled debut album was released in July of 2006, followed by Folklore and Superstition in 2008. It performed well on the charts, both in America and across Europe. The band's third album, 2011's Between the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea, was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Howard Benson (Daughtry, Three Days Grace). It peaked inside the Top 40 of the album charts in their home country, and hit the top spot in Great Britain. The band toured the globe in support and won fans as far away as Japan. In 2013, the country duo Florida Georgia Line covered the band's "Stay" and hit the number one spot on the country chart. Later that year, the band re-entered the studio with producer Joe Barresi. In April of 2014, Black Stone Cherry issued a preview single, "Me and Mary Jane," which entered the chart at number 29 before their fourth album, Magic Mountain, was released in May. After American and U.K. tours, the band took a break in early 2015. They played the summer festival circuit and returned to Barrick Recording Studio, where their eponymously titled debut album had been cut. Thank You, Live, a DVD from their Magic Mountain tour, was released in October. In December of 2015, the new single "The Way of the Future" was released, and "In Our Dreams" arrived in January the following year. The self-produced album Kentucky, which Black Stone Cherry called a back-to-their-roots affair, was released in April of 2016. The album placed at number 40 on the Top 200 and peaked at number one on the Hard Rock Albums chart. After a nine-month tour of the U.S. and Europe, Black Stone Cherry jumped right back into the studio. The band selected six of their favorite tunes by Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, and Albert King, reimagined them with the meaty moxie of their own sound, and cut a six-track EP entitled Black to Blues. It was issued in the fall of 2017. In February 2018, the band issued the single "Burnin'" in anticipation of the release of their sixth studio long-player, Family Tree, which arrived later that May. While writing a seventh album, the band issued Back to Blues, Vol. 2, a six-track covers EP that included their unique Southern rock readings of Freddie King's "Big Legged Woman," Howlin' Wolf's "Down in the Bottom," Robert Johnson's "Me & the Devil Blues," Otis Rush's "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)," Elmore James' "Early One Morning," and Son House's Delta standard "Death Letter Blues." After touring the U.S. and Europe for more than a year, the band reconvened in early 2020 at bassist Jon Lawhon's Monocle Studio. Producing themselves, they tracked nearly 20 songs before completing an album in late March. In summer post-production they pared down the final list to 13 tracks. In early August, they issued a lyric video for set opener "Ringin' in My Head," and followed it two weeks later with a video single for "Again." In late October, Black Stone Cherry released The Human Condition through the Mascot Label Group.
© Megan Frye & Thom Jurek /TiVo
© Megan Frye & Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 20, 2018 | Mascot Records
The rowdy, retro-rockers' third release in two years, Family Tree delivers a loose but punchy set of crispy Deep South confections that radiate both swagger and soul. The follow-up to 2016's full-length Kentucky and 2017's covers EP Black to Blues, the 13-track set administers copious amounts of greasy Southern rock riffage, and like its predecessor, it was self-produced and tracked at Barrick Recording in Glasgow, Kentucky -- the band recorded their eponymous debut there in 2006. Freed from the constraints of a major label, Kentucky saw Black Stone Cherry returning to their roots, and Family Tree is a like-minded beast, drawing as much from Memphis soul as it does from the boogie-blasted sweet spot between ZZ Top and David Lee Roth-era Van Halen. The latter disposition looms large throughout, with the one-two punch of lead singles "Bad Habit" and "Burnin'" piling on the muscle and aiming for the nosebleed seats, but "My Last Breath", with its breezy electric piano, Stax-inspired brass, and heartfelt lyrics aimed at loved ones both here and departed, feels better suited for a Bloody Mary-heavy Gospel brunch. Elsewhere, "Ain't Nobody" staggers, shimmies, and shakes with all the bluesy bravado of Led Zeppelin's "Custard Pie, while "Southern Fried Saturday Night," with its snarling talk-box lead and good-time country boy grandstanding, feels like a stadium-sized Tim McGraw jam performed by Alice in Chains. Despite some subtle shifts in tone, the rest of Family Tree follows suit, doling out the decibels and hard rock tropes with workmanlike precision, while maintaining a homespun sense of community that appeals to anybody who has put in a full week, and just wants to let some air out of their tires. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo