Those Southern rockers from Edmonton, Kentucky are back with their sophomore release “Folklore and Superstition“. The latest album from Black Stone Cherry was released by Roadrunner Records on August 18th, 2008. Straight from the back roads and hills of Kentucky, these guys know how to bring the rock with a Southern flare and a little spice of invention. As mentioned in a previous review, these guys formed a band out of the boredom of growing up in a small town. The hard Southern sound and attitude emanate from the pores of these guys with potency reminiscent of the edginess of Molly Hatchet and the down home mythical folklore of Lynyrd Skynyrd. This is my second helping of this Kentucky concoction of simmering rock hooks, classic rock riffs, and blues tinted solos, and it feels more their own than their debut release. Black Stone Cherry is still Chris Robertson on lead vocals and guitar, Ben Wells on guitar, Jon Lawhon on bass, and John Fred Young on drums.
The first track “Blind Man” rocks out with an incredible countrified riff. This is the first single released from this album. Listen as the story teller croons:
Have you seen the blind man in disguise,
Lookin’ for his eyes
Have you seen the rain man
Lookin’ to the sky, Beggin’ for sunlight
The darkest times ain’t always at night
The second track “Please Come In” reminds me of the blues laced riffs of Led Zeppelin. It makes you want to get up and dance around with your angel with flowers in her hair. The next track “Reverend Wrinkle” is one of those folklore lyric songs that BSC is becoming known for and runs throughout this album. The fourth track “Soulcreek” is a very well produced fist pumping anthem type song.
The album definitely showcases some of their more inventive and creative songs which lends them more credibility as song writers instead of product makers. The later song positions itself as more of a product song along the lines of Nickelback and Creed of the day. But to be sure these guys are leaping into a sound of their own with the other low down and bluesy old style Southern folklore songs. I will point out some of them in the album highlights.
Those highlights include the rockin’ and stompin’ “The Bitter End” with it’s nice drum work and distortion bombardment from the twin guitars, I love listening to a cool wah guitar solo but this one is enhanced by an equally cool clean blues guitar. “Peace Is Free” is a wonderful blues-tinged partial acoustic ballad that could’ve gone without the choir-vocals in the chorus. Robertson’s vocals sound more honest without the choir sound. “Devil’s Queen” is another rockin’ riff laden song with double bass drumming, slide guitar and some cool organ reminiscent of Steppenwolf. The song sports a nice slide guitar solo that I sadly find missing in rock songs lately. “The Key” is a unique song that moves in and out of Alice In Chains type grunge to swampy country stomp rock that includes a banjo played through the rhythm change at the midway point in the song. A verse in the song says:
Out here, under the willow tree
Deep down is where you’ll find the key
I’ve been here once before maybe in a dream
Thylacines play tambourines
I actually had to look up to see what a Thylacine was. It’s like a wolf-headed tiger of sorts related to the Tasmanian devil. “Sunrise” starts out as a hard driving rock song and becomes a reggae influenced song during the chorus parts. It makes for a very cool mix. Finally, “Ghost Of Floyd Collins” ends the album with an eerie tale of a miner who got trapped and haunts around the area he died in. The song is a prime example of the folklore and superstition the album is named for. The chorus states:
Down in Mammoth Cave, is where his body laid
Walls came in life could not be saved
No man made machine, could see the things I ‘ve seen
Mr. Collins you did not die in vain
I think my wife and I both got a shiver from the mention of Mammoth Cave. We’ve both been there in our youth. It is only about 40 miles northwest of Edmonton where these guys grew up. The song is rich with the Southern rock sound that is obviously part of BSC’s musical heritage. It is definitely the beast what brought them here. I love this album even with the few polished arena rock type songs. These guys have grown quite a bit musically and lyrically since their debut album. I give this one a biased five Flying V guitars out of five.
Please check out the new video for “Blind Man” from Black Stone Cherry.