The snow has melted away, the evenings are brighter and lighter, and over here in the good old UK we’ve even had a couple of days without rain. suggesting the summer is well and truly on its way. So, there couldn’t be a more perfect time for Kentucky quartet Black Stone Cherry to lazily unfurl their sun-kissed sixth album Family Tree (Mascot).
And it is good times a-plenty from the off. Opening pair of singles ‘Burnin’’ and ‘Bad Habit’ bring the shake, BSC’s brand of Bluesy Southern Hard Rock pealed out as effortlessly as the involuntary hip-bumping that you can’t help but bust out. Chris Robertson’s distinctive gravel-scratched voice leads the way through ‘New Kinda Feelin’’, an old-style head-nodding rocker that will get everyone up and dancing. ‘Carry Me On Down The Road’ eases off the pace, slinkier, bluesier and groovier, before ‘My Last Breath’, a steel-guitar flecked Gospel song and an honest reflection about parenthood; five tracks in, and it’s evident that the Cherry are having the time of their lives, natural and comfortable in their skin and masters of every facet of their sound and style.
‘Southern Fried Friday Night’ is a cheeky tribute to their hometown, with some sassy talk-box riffing and wah-wah soaked soloing, before Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes adds some skulk and shoulder to ‘Dancin’ In The Rain’, another enjoyable bluesy rocker. ‘James Brown’ is, appropriately, attired with funk and swagger and is, surely, going to be a radio smash, while we dance through a few more toe-tappers, with vivacious ZZ Top brag than you can shake a forest full of sticks at, before matters are wrapped up with the heart-warming title-track, a fitting and classy coda.
Black Stone Cherry launched strong twelve years ago with their self-titled debut (Roadrunner), and they’ve rarely let their collective foot slip off the gas ever since, regularly releasing high quality albums. Family Tree is another collection of Hard Rocking, bluesy, Southern rump-shakers with enough variety to keep you interested, smiling and grooving from beginning to end, and enough hooks to leave a slew of earworms boogying round your brain.
Them there Kentucky connoisseurs have gone and done it again. Here’s to having a good time, drinking and rocking under the family tree.