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Black Stone Cherry: Kentucky
Black Stone Cherry Kentucky CD Album Review

Black Stone Cherry: Kentucky

(Melodic) Heavy Rock/Metal

The last time my path intersected with Black Stone Cherry was eight long years ago and their Folklore & Superstition album. I liked it. But they've been off my radar since. I have little knowledge of how their lives have transpired to date. But thanks to some appropriate press material, I have some idea. It appears that the band has come full circle. They've come back to their home state of Kentucky to record their new album at David Barrick's Barrick Recording near their hometown of Edmonton, the same studio for their first album. The band is self-producing the new one as well, and doing it amongst family in friends.

Black Stone Cherry Kentucky Band Photo

Black Stone Cherry

But maybe there was something else that transpired in eight years. Something I missed. I recall that Black Stone Cherry infused some folk, southern and roots rock into their post-grunge d-tuned heavy rock. It appears to be missing here or, at the very least significantly lessened. I didn't hear anything related to those nuance until the beginning of Shakin' My Cage, and it was brief. Hangman may have some Southern rock feeling, more so within Cheaper To Drink Alone. There's some strong vocal harmony at the start of Rescue Me which will remind of southern gospel music. But for the most significant "southern" presence, you have to wait until the end for the ballad, with guitar, fiddle, and dobro, The Rambler. Honestly, I miss those nuances. Or maybe in that last album I reviewed, it wasn't a strong as I thought. It's been awhile, my recollection is hazy.

Largely then from the start this album is pretty heavy and blazing, back to that aforementioned post-grunge d-tuned heavy rock, which is fine. Black Stone Cherry can pull it off with aplomg and vigor. The songs are tight, heavy, blistering with riffs, roaring with solos, yet still wrapped in an abundance of melody and harmony. Yet listening to the first several songs, and some later, I couldn't help, with each spin, asking, "Is Black Stone Cherry trying to get in touch with their inner heavy metal soul?" As draw this review to conclusion, I have to also draw your attention to the one cover song here, Edwin Starr's Motown classic War. It features Jonas Butler and Ryan Stiles from Kentucky's Fat box, on trumpet and saxophone respectively. It's really, really great, reminding me of Springsteen's version from the Eighties.

All in all, while different than what I expected, Black Stone Cherry's Kentucky delivers real American melodic heavy rock with a significant metal edge. Recommended.

Black Stone Cherry - "In Our Dreams" (Official Video HD)

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In Short

All in all, while different than what I expected, Black Stone Cherry's Kentucky delivers real American melodic heavy rock with a significant metal edge. Recommended.

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