After almost 6 months of waiting and a relentless social media tease campaign that began when the band entered the studio, the new album is out and, my God was it worth the wait.
The band have been playing a few tracks on recent tours around the world, and inevitably these tracks have shown up online and if you are any kind of fan of BSC then you will be familiar with some of the stuff that shows up on Kentucky. However, nothing really compares to listening to the music on a CD as it was meant to be heard.
If I am honest Magic Mountain didn’t grab me and drag me under the table on the first few listens and it was only in retrospect when I went back in preparation for this release that I got more from it. However, there is no fear of that being the case with Kentucky. From the very first chords on The Way of the Future you I was gut punched and dragged down to the pit.
The band are really on fire with this release, they have self-produced this album and it really does feel like they should have been given the reigns quite a while ago. No one really knows themselves as well as …themselves. The band have matured into a fluid cohesive unit that at this point in time should be standing on top of the world dancing a Kentucky jig with a jug of moonshine in one hand and a bunch of awards in the other.
If one word describes this album it is diversity. Each track on this album has its own feel and groove. You want to think that this shouldn’t work, but it does and so well. Kentucky doesn’t give you a chance to get complacent, you just want to keep going on the ride with the next track. Each track is a stand out and I imagine that most the tracks will get an airing over the next year or so of touring.
There is light and shade running through the album, with flat out rockers like album opener The Way of the Future and Soul Machine (which is going to be a real crowd pleaser live!), then you get the head banger tracks like Shakin’ My Cage & Hangman.
It is undeniable that Black Stone Cherry are a Southern Rock and Roll juggernaut and long may they carry on truckin’, however, the one thing that they do effortlessly is to make moments. From the first time you heard previous ‘moments’ like ‘Things My Father Said’ and thought about your dad, to listening to ‘Peace is Free’ and thinking how the world would be if that was its Global Anthem. The band have done it again with ‘The Rambler’. It’s a story of a Father who sets out one day without seeing his child but in his last days, after all the success in the world he regrets not meeting the child one time. It could be a ‘concept’ track, it could equally be a homegrown tale of a guy in a band, finding incredible success but regretting not being with his family reminding them that even in his absence “I’ll always be around, turn the radio up when your heart breaks down”. That’s my take, and a defy any of you grown hairy blokes not to have a lump in your throat after really listening to the words.
The surprise track for me on Kentucky is the cover of Edwin Starr’s War (What is it Good For?). Black Stone Cherry have never shied away from a good cover version; just check You Tube for evidence of this. I looked down the track listing before release and I never in 100 years thought that this track would be what it actually was… and that it’s absolutely EPIC!
I can see a covers album either as a release for the band or maybe even a Classic Rock cover CD at some point in the future (if that happens I predict that that issue would be their best-selling one for ages).
Overall, Kentucky will carry this band around the world with good favour preceding them. They are huge in Europe and specifically the UK if there is any justice in this world, this will be the album that will blow them up in their homeland. Come on America wake up and Smell the Black Stone Cherry.