Black Stone Cherry

TrackAlbum
Backwoods GoldBlack Stone Cherry
When The Weight Comes DownBlack Stone Cherry
Crosstown WomanBlack Stone Cherry
Blind ManFolklore and Superstition
Ghost Of Floyd CollinsFolklore and Superstition
Things My Father SaidFolklore and Superstition
Hell & High WaterLive At The Astoria, London
Violator GirlLive At The Astoria, London
Like I RollBetween The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea
Bad Luck & Hard LoveMagic Mountain

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Contributor: Ian Ashleigh

When a well-known music streaming website suggested I might like to listen to a band called Black Stone Cherry, thinking about the name and looking at their picture I figured out quite accurately what to expect. There was not going to be anything subtle about this music. What I did not anticipate was being so totally blown away by what I heard.

I describe Black Stone Cherry as my favourite ‘loud band’ of the moment. This is top quality 21st Century American hard rock. The band is a standard no frills rock combo; two guitars, bass and drums. Vocals are provided by lead guitarist Chris Robertson, with Ben Wells on second guitar, Jon Lawhon on bass and John Fred Young on drums. Occasionally you hear a Hammond B3 organ and sometimes a piano.

Formed in Edmonton, Kentucky in 2001 the band took fully five years to get a record deal and have since released four studio albums and a live collection. As I write, in May 2014, the latest offering Magic Mountain is more or less hot off the press and resident in my CD player.

The first album in 2006 is an immediate rock classic and I had difficulty restricting myself to only three tracks, although if you add the two from the live album it’s five. The opening riff of Backwoods Gold grabbed me by the throat and took me with it to rural Kentucky in the back of a pick-up going who knows where, I wasn’t bothered. When The Weight Comes Down is similarly instant but we are now in the city wanting to be back in the country. Crosstown Woman does not tip its hat to Jimi Hendrix and a similarly named song, but you are in no doubt that the subjects of both songs have similar intentions. More guitar-led, drums-backed American Southern rock music, turn the volume up and bring it on.

No second album blues for Black Stone Cherry, Folklore and Superstition is as strong as the eponymous debut, another 13 tracks of top quality rock music. Again I restricted myself to only three. Blind Man was the first track I heard by Black Stone Cherry and the one that so immediately drew me to the band. This is a band honing its craft and there is more finesse than on the previous album but everything you expect and want from a heavy rock band. Ghost Of Floyd Collins tells of an accident in a cave although there is only one victim and something sinister is happening. Things My Father Said is my token ballad in the ten to give you a breather half way through. Had I allowed myself four tracks from Folklore and Superstition, Soulcreek would have been in the ten.

And so we visit the London Astoria on 31st October 2007 on the last night of a tour and a band on top form playing to their largest headlining audience to date. Most of the set is from the first album and non-album EP tracks, coming as it did between the releases of the first two albums. There is an excellent cover of Folsom Prison Blues, Hoochie Coochie Man includes a 5 minute drum solo section and the encore is Voodoo Chile. So we return to the first album and live outings of two more barnstorming tracks, Hell & High Water and Violator Girl, that lose nothing of their magic from album to the live set. It is said the CDs were available as the fans left the venue, logistically I cannot see how this was possible but somehow they did it. The CD was strictly a limited edition and copies are available from Amazon at ridiculous prices.

Second album syndrome hit Black Stone Cherry at the second attempt. Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea is not as instant as its predecessors. Like I Roll is the best track on the album and in a way sums up the band with some great lyrics.

The new album, Magic Mountain, is a return to form. This is another ‘baker’s dozen’ of first class heavy rock, so we are going out with a bang. The lead single from the album is the heavy blues of Me and Mary Jane but Bad Luck & Hard Love has everything you could want from Black Stone Cherry.

Here you have it friends, 37 minutes of the best rock music Kentucky currently has to offer. Pour yourself a beer, turn the volume right up and enjoy.

Black Stone Cherry official site

Black Stone Cherry biography (iTunes)

TopperPost #309

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