Black Stone Cherry get the summer rock n’ roll party down home started in Family Tree
Edmonton, KY based southern rock band Black Stone Cherry unlike a lot of other bands in recent times did not wait too long to get back in the studio to start writing and recording a brand new album.
Their sixth studio LP Family Tree sounds as fresh, fun, and grooving as anything else they have done, which just goes to show that it is not necessary to wait long periods of time between albums when the creative fire is stoking and everyone is having a good time playing.
Family Tree showcases more of that heavy bluesy, but some times funky Joe Satriani meets Lynrd Skynrd sound that people have come to know and love, though in a way that does not sound like the band is rehashing their old material over and over again.
“Bad Habit” was most certainly a good choice for an opening track for the record. It has this uptempo funky groove that will evoke movement from anyone listening to it.
The bridge/solo section though is where things get interesting. The whole rhythm changes and slows down, the key changes, and everything sounds beefier until the solo ends and it goes back to the groove the song had before.
“My Last Breath” while being the obligatory album ballad does not feel like it is there just to fulfill a requirement. Every word sung by Chris Robertson sounds unquestionably genuine and passionate.
The soft Clavinet and the creamy smooth slide guitar definitely sets the right vibe. However, having a horn section is what truly adds that extra bit of sparkle and magic to the song.
Speaking of slide guitar, there is some sexy gritty slide played in the most grooving on the entire album, “Ain’t Nobody”. More than that though, the funky blues riff will get stuck in anyone’s head in a matter of seconds.
As great as all that is though, the chorus is where things hit their peak. With all of the gospel backing singers layered in, it takes “Ain’t Nobody” to even higher places than it ever would have ever gone before.
While Family Tree is a really good record, what keeps it from being a great record is the fact that it is a bit too long and some of the songs sound a bit too similar to one another in terms of the kind of groove they have and what key they are played in.
Had they left off just a few, then Family Tree would have been an exponentially stronger album. Maybe they could have released the others as an EP or as bonus tracks for a deluxe version of the album.
Regardless, Family Tree is still one of the better albums to come out of 2018 so far. There is pure passion, drive, and soul going into this album and it is easy to tell that Black Stone Cherry was having a good time together when writing and recording it. This is for sure the good times crank it up rock n’ roll album that the summer will need.
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