ALBUM REVIEW: Family Tree (BLACK STONE CHERRY)
ALBUM: Family Tree ARTIST: Black Stone Cherry
For a slight change of scenery today we're traipsing to the Bluegrass State of America, aka Kentucky, taking a peek into 'Family Tree', the brand new sixth studio album for hard rockers Black Stone Cherry.
After 17 years and sharing the stage with the likes of Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Motorhead, there's a definite sense of familial sincerity in the backbone of this rocking quartet. Starting life jamming as high school kids in an abandoned property which originally housed the rehearsals of Grammy Award-winning country rockers The Kentucky HeadHunters (who happened to also feature Black Stone Cherry's drummer John Fred Young's dad and uncle), this lot have over time pooled their collective interests and families to include guest appearances from actual and honorary family members, and largely keeping production in-house.
'Family Tree' picks up where BSC's previous 2016 release 'Kentucky' left off, with bombastic Southern American rock'n'roll at the forefront - but also a few surprise twists to keep you guessing. There's the expected brawling blues and twanging riffs ('Dancin' In The Rain, Carry Me On Down The Road), but also a few moments of gospel-tinged funk (James Brown), grooving monsters (opening track Bad Habit) and the jewel in the crown that is My Last Breath - a demurely feel-good moment of restraint and some good old fashioned Southern sonic hospitality.
Overall, there's a sense of spontaneity throughout 'Family Tree', despite the level-headed production expected from a band with six albums under their belts - and this candor is no accident, with BSC opting for reduced rehearsal prior to recording, and leaning towards in-the-moment takes. At first glance 'Family Tree' may seem like just another country rock album thrown out into the world by a group who don't need the acclaim - but when you dig a little deeper, it's clear that Black Stone Cherry are wholeheartedly all-in with their finger-licking blend of unique Southern American rock, and in reality it's the result of four dudes and the people who have travelled with them for nearly two decades crafting this modern twist on a classic blues rock.
Take it from a girl who doesn't always like country - 'Family Tree' is a stomping good time for anyone who likes a little blues and some good old fashioned rock and roll - go join the Black Stone Cherry family and embrace this tasty slice of Americana.
'Family Tree' is out this Friday April 20th via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group - album pre-orders are available here. More info below.
BLACK STONE CHERRY:
BY TIANA SPETER