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MUSIC: BLACK STONE CHERRY – Family Tree

| 19 April 2018 | Reply

MUSIC: BLACK STONE CHERRY – Family Tree
Mascot Label Group
April 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
8 ½ /10

Black Stone Cherry are the truest type of grass-roots band: childhood friends who’ve honed their craft meticulously over seventeen years and six albums, slowly building up and nurturing an audience territory by territory, and getting better and more individual with each new release and every passing year.

Family Tree shows a maturity hinted at on previous record Kentucky – and is likewise self-produced. The band’s grungier elements have mellowed now into a more organic and rich, heartfelt sound, where acoustic guitar, finger picking and new influences creep in.

There’s the slinky, Hendrix-esque riff to opener Bad Habit; the Texan barbecued ZZ Top vibe of Burnin’; and Allman Brothers Band/Govt Mule legend Warren Haynes trading vocals and guitar licks with frontman Chris Robertson on the country blues stomp Dancing In the Rain.

Robertson slides an astonishingly soulful vocal turn into the front seat for My Last Breath, before being joined by a choir of backing vocalists who turn it into a heartfelt hymnal of love for family – and that’s what this album (and this band) are all about.

Well… not ENTIRELY… they realise that we do like a party now and then, and Southern Fried Friday Night does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s such a party stomp that it’s impossible to listen without imagining the foursome having a ball in the studio recording it.

James Brown sprinkles a teensy bit of funk into the mix with a riff that’s pure meat on the bone, and more glorious backing vocals the gravy; while You Got The Blues is an antitode to the damn things – there’s no way you could still have “the motherfucking blues, man,” after grooving to this rager.

Practically every song on Family Tree stomps heavy and hard and from the heart, with that irrepressible BSC sound – all huge riffs, southern drawl, irresistible melodies, arena-ready choruses, classy songwriting and superb production – proving yet another winner for possibly the best hard rock band on the planet right now.

Shane

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