Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree (Mascot Label Group)
Genre: Southern Rock
Black Stone Cherry aren’t really the same raucous noise makers who blew us all away with their rebel yell infused eponymous debut and sophomore Folklore and Superstition, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t life left in the old dog.
Where the group has lost some of the more blatant fury, they’ve gained a more subtle understanding of how to make your head nod and feet rock.
After growing up dreaming of emulating bands such as Cream and Led Zepplin, it’s perhaps not much of a surprise to hear an album that has a more relaxed, wavering classic rock noise.
While Ben Wells’ used to rage fire at the Gods, his guitar now sings a softer tune. It’s not less intoxicating, and the riffs on Bad Habit and Burnin’ are as infectious as ever.
Continuing the band’s dismissal of the letter G on the ends of words is New Kinda Feelin’, which emphases this more subtle phase of Black Stone Cherry’s career with a piano riff so clean and delicious you’d eat your dinner off it. There is also a delightful phase where Chris Robertson peels away the vocals and lets the music do all the talking for him.
Southern Fried Friday Night takes things back to the Rain Wizard kinda days and turns the lyrical subject towards drinking and parties – a little throwback to how things used to be and a diversion away from the more homely themes of the album.
One of which, unsurprisingly, is family. BSC think the world of family. They first started practicing in drummer John Fred Young’s father’s band’s rehearsal rooms and it’s set them up for the wonderful career they’ve had.
James Brown has a glorious soul-infused core and is a song all about love, heartbreak and having good moves on the dancefloor – while Ain’t Nobody and Get Me Over You are also about mystery women.
While some of the fire is gone, there is a new harnessing of their powers. Black Stone Cherry don’t need to be loud to be good.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Stone cold hit