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Black Stone Cherry Album Family Tree – Out Friday

Black Stone Cherry Shakes The Family Tree For Their Sixth Album

(Photo Credit: Harry Reese)

Kentucky’s own Black Stone Cherry have been cultivating and working hard at bringing something to the table that is 100 percent themselves. That’s exactly what they did with their sixth studio album, Family Tree. I have often wondered what direction the band would take with this record; knowing their roots in music and how much of an American sound – meaning gritty and dueling guitars, gruesome solos, whiskey soaked vocals, and thunderous drums. It didn’t take long for these chart-topping, veteran rockers to give me that answer. This album has such a powerful fusion of soul, funk, blues and pure Southern rock n’ roll! But it never stops shining as it starts off with a glorious track and takes you on a ride all the way down to the “Family Tree”. Chris, Ben, Jon, and John Fred have been blazing a trail that is never easy in the industry, but comes with ease for these Edmonton, Kentucky boys!

For over 17 years, Black Stone Cherry has been polishing their resume with countless tours world wide. The Kentucky natives have something to say to the world with Family Tree.

“We caught divine intervention with this one,” says Ben Wells, and divine intervention is exactly what most bands would need to capture lightning in a whiskey bottle like Black Stone Cherry did with this record.

Delivering a homegrown sound with Family Tree, the band took to their own hometown to record it and had some very special guests to ignite the fire. When you hear about guest vocals you immediately want the goods.

The goods is exactly what I got when I heard the widely recognizable voice of Warren Haynes (longtime guitarist with The Allman Brothers Band and founding member of the jam band Gov’t Mule)! Taking the time to lend his talents to the track “Dancin’ In The Rain”, Warren offers a complimentary sound to this already rockin’ record.

“Hearing him play on this track all these years later gave me chills,”  said bassist Jon Lawhon after meeting Haynes nearly 17 years ago. This is a full circle moment for Black Stone Cherry, and an awesome moment for me as a Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers fan. If you’ve never heard of Gov’t Mule or the Allman Brothers, where have you been? They are pioneers for many of today’s artists who have now found their way into the genre. A foundation was laid, they’ve given many of today’s southern rockers including Black Stone Cherry, the traction and inspiration that would lead to this path of Family Tree. Also, adding to the list of awesomeness is Chris Robertson’s son on the track “You’ve Got The Blues”, giving this record a personal touch for Robertson and taking the Family Tree title a deeper meaning.

With everyone’s talents on full display on their sixth studio album it was time to really sink my teeth into this groovy and badass record. It’s a solid one indeed but there are quite a few stand out tracks on this one for me. But the biggest draw for me is that, in my own unbiased (but totally biased) opinion, literally every track on Family Tree could be a hit with any audience and dominate the airwaves. There is definitely a sense of nostalgia on this one but also a sense of “damn!”

I was so excited for the first track, and I was not disappointed! We have a first music video for “Burnin’” to follow up to the release of the new album

“Bad Habit” takes listeners on a wild ride of tasty bass thumping, gut busting drumming from the animal that is John Fred Young, massive shredding from Ben and Chris, to some groovy and smooth vocals from Chris Robertson. My favorite part of this one is the breakdown right at the 2:20 mark because it changes the pace and picks back up from crazy riffs and nasty little notes that make this such a badass and versatile tune!. “Bad Habit” definitely is the right way to kick this album off.

“Burnin’” is a nasty little piece work! This song starts with an insane riff that transitions into that American rock sound we have grown to love, letting every member of the band stand up and stand out!  This one had me singing along and trying to memorize the words fast. “Burnin’” is of those songs that we could be requesting in a setlist for many years to come!

“New Kinda Feelin’” has got a 100 percent blues and rock fusion in the roots of this track. I’ve got a New Kinda Feelin’ that this song is going to be playing this summer in everyone’s vehicle driving down the road with the windows down and pressing repeat a few times.

“Carry Me On Down The Road” is a sure fire way to get your feet tapping and your head bobbing while maybe playing a little air bass guitar (I know I certainly caught myself doing it) Another groovy breakdown midway through which is one of my favorite things in a song, it makes for a really gritty sound! I had to have more so I was pumped for the next song yet again!

“My Last Breathe” takes us on an awesome bluesy ballad, and one I know that will be on playlists for the rocking romantic in all of us. With so much heart and soul that was obviously put into the writing and execution of this track, it is sure to be a fan favorite really soon once listeners have really let the vibe of this album sink in.

“Southern Fried Friday Night” is a song that speaks to anyone who’s ever grown up in a small town. likes raising a little hell, and rolling down a dirt road to a kick ass song. Well, guys, look no further than this track. It provides all of the above and more! This one is sure to be an anthem for those who like to kick it and have a hell of a “Southern Fried Friday Night!”

“Dancin’ In The Rain” is one of my favorite tracks off of this album and brings in special guest Warren Haynes to give this track a little something different and keep us all banging our heads. There’s a real personal feel to this one that had me play this song three times in a row. One things for sure, this song slams!

“Ain’t Nobody” is a homegrown recipe for a groovin’ track loaded with riffs and riffs galore! One thing is for sure: ain’t nobody gonna put together an album so well rounded and deserving of wide recognition for a truly killer and intelligent product such as this! Black Stone Cherry has struck gold with Family Tree for sure, and while only being the eighth track on the album, “Ain’t Nobody” brings the soul and rock in a beautiful marriage of fusion and performance that will be remembered.

“James Brown” is probably the most fun you can have on a single track, incorporating every possible way to reach every type of audience. Blasting out gut busting drums and lightning guitars with the velvety smooth voice and just a touch of whiskey, Black Stone Cherry delivers and pushes even themselves in this funky roller coaster of a tune – with a vivacious gospel choir singing backup, this one will have you singing along and needing a witness!

“You’ve Got The Blues” features some special vocal talents and adding a true blue meaning to Family Tree, Chris Robertson’s five year old son steps into the spotlight rocking out with his dad, which as a parent,  I know meant the world! We sure get to let the good times roll with a satisfyingly electric song that soars well past the opening chords to the end!

“I Need A Woman” demonstrated that a lot of fun was had writing this record and it shows! This song definitely has that vibe and on track number eleven, “I Need A Woman” brings out that dirty rock sound that the band is familiar with. Add a twisted bit of funk in the mix and you have the recipe for another footing stomping, beer drankin’, better-find-a-woman-and-get-her-on-the-dance-floor tune!

“Get Me Over You” has all the sweeping heaviness from Ben Wells and blasting drums we all love from John Fred Young to create a killer track that makes you wonder how long the boys have been sitting on such gold like this record! Seriously y’all! This one is setting the bar!

And now onto “Family Tree”. Let me just take a deep breathe… if there are any bands reading this before hearing this record in its entirety, THIS is how you close out an album! This has to be my absolute favorite track on the masterpiece that is Family Tree. With soaring guitar solos to killer drumming and the whiskey burnin’ flavor that is Chris Robertson’s voice on this one and Ben Wells melting our faces like we’re all in Indiana Jones (yes I went there) this is probably my favorite BSC track of all time right now. This song is indeed relevant and needed in the industry right now! It takes us all on a wild ride from start to finish, making a bold statement. For me, this is my new anthem. For Black Stone Cherry, “they’re finally home.”

If you’re expecting something that’s mediocre, go buy another record from someone else. (Clearly) this record blew me away, from start to finish. Hard work, dedication to the fans and to themselves, Black Stone Cherry delivers the most impressive and fun record to date!

Family Tree (Mascot Records) can be purchased on www.blackstonecherry.com, and streamed on all major platforms. (Spotify, iTunes,Google Play, Amazon Music) 4/20.

Brandon Hanks is a photojournalist hailing from Owensboro, Kentucky. Brandon started his obsession with photography dating back to 2001. Since getting his first taste of the music industry in 2016 with Nothing More, he has since worked with some of his favorites to some of the biggest names in music: Black Stone Cherry, Highly Suspect, Bush, Skillet, Green Day, and Scott Stapp. "If you were to tell me I'd be doing this (concert photography) with the artists I've worked with in my first year, I'd call you a liar," said Hanks. Brandon's fire and willingness to adapt to any setting and environment while being able to take on any challenge thrown at him makes him a force and a future in this industry looks brighter with every show. "Grateful, Humbled, Unbelievable, Rise Up." All words Brandon lives by.

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