Black Stone Cherry – Kentucky (Mascot Label Group)

Genre: Heavy Southern Rock

….and breathe. After the Cherry bomb that was Magic Mountain, the brilliant BSC are back with an album that evokes memories of 2006’s hard-hitting debut and reaffirms the band’s position at the front of the classic rock pack.

The gospel-tinged, ZZ Top-influenced Soul Machine might just become the biggest hit Black Stone Cherry have ever enjoyed but it’s surrounded by the kind of blues-tinged, countryfied Southern Rock that made the quartet such a big deal a decade ago.

Power ballad (with the emphasis on the power) Long Ride is a journey into the band’s musical past that promises an even brighter future – check out the blistering Ben Wells solo – and is surely a heartfelt nod to those fans who have propelled Kentucky’s finest from virtual unknowns to stadium headliners.

The funked up Edwin Starr coverĀ War (check out the sax) shouldn’t work but it does: a bullish Chris Robertson makes the protest anthem his own in irrepressible fashion. Hangman wouldn’t sound out of place on the band’s self-titled debut but benefits from the level of production missing on that raw yet raucous first blast of BSC.

After Magic Mountain the RUSHONROCK team feared our favourite ‘new’ band had blown it (literally). Kentucky is a middle finger in the face to the doubters and a shot in the arm for a genre reeling in the face of Sabbath’s imminent retirement, AC/DC’s woes, Rush’s decision to leave touring behind and the deaths of so many rock and metal greats.

Its The Way Of The Future.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 10/10 Kentucky Fried Pickin’