American hard rockers Black Stone Cherry are set to release their 5th LP, Kentucky, on April 1, 2016. This is no April Fool’s Day joke, though. These guys are the real deal.
The new material is about as heavy as it gets for mainstream hard rock. As the album name (and the state the band hails from) would indicate, there is a prominent modern southern sound and feel to it as well. Think along the lines of Shinedown, Monster Truck, Halestrom and Volbeat. Gritty, grungy, and growling…
Before putting in 15 years as an amazingly hard working band, their claim to fame was that their drummer, John Fred Young, is the son of Kentucky Headhunter guitarist Richard Young. Five solid albums, a strong sense of a well-crafted song, and a massive following of dedicated fans is now what keeps this band appealing.
Formed and fronted by singer/ guitarist Chris Robertson, the band has shared the stage with many acts over their tenure. They appear to have a strong connection with Lizzy Hale, the beauty and brains behind hard rockers Halestorm. She guested on their 3rd album, Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea and the 2 bands will tour together in the upcoming months. This was, until their upcoming release, my personal favorite BSC album.
The line-up of the band is filled out by Jon Lawhon on bass guitar and Ben Wells on guitar and has remained intact since its inception in 2001. The band works co-operatively during the songwriting process and they tend to employ guests in this process as well. Songwriting credits on their tunes go to the band as opposed to any one individual; a sign of closeness and of a family feel to all things music.
I am on my 4th or 5th listen to the album and it really is a superb capture. There is the obvious recognition of the band’s sound but there is plenty of diversity here to keep the listener looking forward to favorite tracks. In the modern era of downloads, Youtube, and seas of mediocrity, it’s not hard for artists to become lost in the shuffle and buried under the pile. Black Stone Cherry, with their new release Kentucky, are doing what it takes to avoid being swept away without notice. I think it’s a strong and mature release and is a safe bet to turn some heads, please some old fans and make some new ones.
The band will be busy this summer touring in support of Kentucky. The highlights will include their participation in the travelling festival Carnival of Madness which will be criss-crossing the continental US in summer 2016. Catch it if you can…
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written by Gregory Nott