The last time we had the privilege of listening to Black Stone Cherry was with their LP “Black to Blues”, which saw the outfit turn to their roots and collectively pay homage to their musical influences, performing a compilation of their favourite blues songs (with a BSC twist, of course). Those tones have managed to transfer into their latest album, “Family Tree”, whilst returning to that familiar Black Stone Cherry musical mastery. It’s everything you’ve come to expect from the Southern Rockers; it’s gritty, it’s ballsy, and some of the best southern-style rock you’ll sit down and listen to today!
Black Stone Cherry consists of band members Chris Robertson (vocals/guitar), Ben Wells (secondary guitar/backing vocals), Jon Lawhon (bass/backing vocals), and John Fred Young (drums/percussion/piano/backing vocals).
The albums opens up with Bad Habit, instantly transporting you to both familiarity and comfortability – boasting some bluesy undertones, instrumentally sound, and the vocal talents of Robertson always impressive. It’s one of those toe-tapping musical experiences that Black Stone Cherry are renowned for, and opening with said track provides promise that this is going to be one hell of an album!
Black Stone Cherry are masters of their craft, and the tracks Burnin’ and New Kinda Feelin’ are prime examples. Instrumentally, you could just sit there and listen to them jam for hours and be caught within a whirlwind of calm, whilst packed to the hilt with powerful riffs, bluesy vocal tones, and overall instrumental brilliance.
Some heavier tones come into the fold with Carry Me Down The Road, with the blues undertones coming through a bit stronger within the country-esque brilliance. Take the time to appreciate the guitar solo mid-track, what a deliverance! My Last Breath sees the same blues tones ring true throughout, whilst seeing Black Stone Cherry turn to a softer performance, which does nothing but heighten the band’s talents.
Break out your talk boxes! The tempo shifts back to familiarity with Southern Fried Friday Night, which isn’t just a clever name, and is as craftily put together as it is entertaining. Boasting some powerful licks, it’s definitely Black Stone Cherry at their finest. Dancin’ In The Rain is no exception neither, but that’s what you come to expect from Black Stone Cherry – nothing but absolute top quality. It’s the only track on the album to feature a guest performer, and the man in question is none other than Warren Haynes (most notable for his work with The Allman Brothers Band), which with his talents adds another layer of depth to the performance, as well as a more classic sound, which is definitely welcomed.
The opening riff of Ain’t Nobody digs its claws deep, and hooks you right until the end of the track. Classic Black Stone Cherry, right to the core. Their southern-style lends somewhat of an atmospheric feel that not many other bands in the world can pull off, which is what makes these guys so unique. James Brown is aptly named, preaching rock with choir-esque ambiance and sublime instrumental delivery, especially the guitar work (that solo, holy shit!).
As fore mentioned, “Black To Blues” was the LP released before this album in which Black Stone Cherry returned to their blues roots, and payed homage to those who paved the way within that genre. You Got The Blues is a subtle nod to those said roots, combined with the heavy Black Stone Cherry rock trademark, which culminates in yet another brilliant track. Ever heard of the Midas Touch? Because so far everything they’ve touched this album has turned to gold!
I Need A Woman possesses the usual Black Stone Cherry traits, however in comparison to the other tracks in the album finds itself wandering just a little bit. In saying that though, it’s still a good listen nonetheless, and is a mark of personal opinion (don’t let it sway your judgement, listen to it for yourselves, you might enjoy it!). In comparison, Get Me Over You, the second-to-last track of the album, returns to that plateau that is the benchmark of Black Stone Cherry and doesn’t disappoint. It’s the heavy tones of the guitar that come to the forefront of the track, but those blues undertones (that have rang true throughout the album’s entirety) add a level of depth that just heightens the performance just that little bit more. Be warned, you might find yourself involuntarily singing along in the musical break like I was!
We’ve come to the end of the album, which is an absolute shame because it’s been one hell of an experience! We round the album out with the title track, Family Tree, and they’ve definitely left one of the best performances on the album for last. Try finding a fault in this track, because rest assured you’re going to have a hard time finding one. Black Stone Cherry come together and it culminates in something beautiful. What a way to cap off such a mind blowing experience.