Their first album after the acclaimed album Kentucky that took the band back to its roots. Where would the anticipated 2018 Black Stone Cherry album take us? Rooted deep in the heart of the music is family, hence the thirteen tracks are held under the title Family Tree. The family has so many connotations, home, connections through music, love of genres what they all have in common is that strange mix of safety, arguments, celebrations and differences. The album is once again self-produced and tracked at David Barrick’s – Barrick Recording. The studio is part of the band’s extended family having recorded two previous albums self-titled debut and Kentucky.
Opening with Bad Habit, listening to BSC is a good habit, confirmed in this commanding stinging guitar riff-laden track. Fast and furious we are rocking under the shade of classic BSC sound, we are home! Like all families there is a sub-text here it is full of sexual innuendos! Now we are Burnin’ with deep grooves and driving guitar licks sharp as knife the feet are now tapping we are falling under the spell once again. The album is full throttle with tracks for you to explore.
Bluesdoodles highlights the whole album. No, there are always some tracks that just roar out of the speaker you want to put them on repeat. Carry Me Down The Road is one, slower tempo we are to be taken home as we groove along to the country vibe. The music flows, and the lyrics are punchy we are in the mood for the music. The band take the music down, with a stripped back opening to My Last Breath celebrating the love for a child. Delivered with feeling from Chris as the sound deepens celebrating love. Take a moment and listen to this graceful song that leaves you with goosebumps and in awe of the emotional connection that words and music can create in the hands of skilful artists.
BSC love to play music and the album has a feel of a jam. This is raised to another level Dancin’ In The Rain when the band are joined by Warren Haynes for a cameo appearance. His vocals and guitar pierce through the BSC sound creating that feeling of musicians having fun playing music because they can. This is a hot track that just makes you smile and feel that all will be fine.
Let’s get funky you ask yes we can on James Brown. They capture the inner soul of Brown as we travel back to a family gathering of the 1970’s. The backing singers add some gospel as the sound is celebrated. With You Got The Blues, do not expect a controlled twelve-bar blues number. This is a potent rocked up sound. Joining the band is the next generation as Chris Robertson’s 5-year-old son joins the band singing with his father as the backing vocalist.
The homespun free form under-rehearsed approach works perfectly. This is a Family Tree rooted deep in the musical legacy of Kentucky, but never afraid to branch out and spread their musical wings creating the sound that is Black Stone Cherry. The quartet are a family all contributing to the song-writing, take a moment and concentrate on the narrative that is unfolding across the brawny guitar, the powerhouse signature sound of BSC. The songs all have something to say.
Then there is the title and closing track, reprising the hard-hitting guitar of the opening track. The riffs are deep and muscular weaving together the essence of music from the Southern States of USA. As ever rooted in the blues that can be heard shaping the guitar’s six-strings. The circle is complete we have travelled once again with a band that just keeps giving.
The band plays music that brings sunshine pouring out of the speakers, rock tempered by country vibes and the soul of the blues. Family Tree explores life, musical influences and is coherent because the band are family travelling in the same direction. The title track refrain sums up the concept behind Family Tree as Chris Robertson sings, ‘Once I lost my way, All that I would say, Please take me Home, To the place I belong… bury me under the Family Tree.’
With Black Stone Cherry every time you listen or see them live you become part of the extended family. Shading under the musical tree of the rocking sound that they produce grounded in the music they love. Southern, edgy and always played with family love. The band is a family.
TENdoodle paws out of TEN …
Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree – Mascot Label Group
- Bad Habit
- New Kinda Feelin’
- Carry Me Down The Road
- My Last Breath
- Southern Fried Friday Night
- Dancin’ In The Rain
- Ain’t Nobody
- James Brown
- You Got The Blues
- I Need A Woman
- Get Me Over You
- Family Tree
Chris Robertson: Vocals
Ben Wells: Guitar
Jon Lawhon: Bass
John Fred Young: Drums
Chris’ 5-year-old son (You Got The Blues)
Warren Haynes (Dancing In The Rain)