Black Stone Cherry – Kentucky (2016) {Deluxe Edition} [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/192kHz]

Black Stone Cherry – Kentucky (2016) {Deluxe Edition}
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:00:22 minutes | 1,28 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital Booklet | © Mascot Records

They say you can’t go home again, but Black Stone Cherry proves otherwise on Kentucky. The hard-rocking Bluegrass State quartet recorded its fifth album, and follow-up to 2014’s Magic Mountain, at Barrick Recording in Glasgow, KY, where it recorded its 2006 debut album. The 13 tracks find BSC connecting with that same youthful energy (check out “Shakin’ My Cage,” “Soul Machine” or “Rescue Me”) but demonstrates the wisdom gleaned from nearly a decade of recording and touring on tracks such as the reflective “Long Ride” and a brassy (and timely) take on Edwin Starr’s Motown classic “War.”

The deluxe edition features two bonus tracks.

Sometimes you need to look back in order to move forward. While Black Stone Cherry have had increasing chart success — 2014’s Magic Mountain hit number five on the U.K. charts and number 22 in the U.S. — the band felt a lack of creative control over their recordings. To that end, they left Roadrunner Records and signed to Mascot, run by Ron Burman (the man who signed them to Roadrunner in the first place). Earlier Black Stone Cherry albums were always imbalanced: songwriting was sometimes sacrificed in an attempt to replicate the band’s live sound; at other times, it was the reverse. Kentucky is a self-produced, back-to-the-roots affair (with participation from a host of local players and singers). Opener “The Way of the Future” walks the line between gnarly, riff-tastic hard rock and heavy metal. Frontman/guitarist Chris Robertson’s rant against greedy politicians is fueled by his and Ben Wells’ twin-guitar attack, grooving tom-tom, kickdrum fills from John Fred Young, and a fuzzed-out, Geezer Butler-esque bassline from Jon Lawhon. The two proceeding tracks, “In Our Dreams” and “Shakin’ My Cage,” are equally bone-crunching. The gears shift on “Soul Machine.” It blends greasy Southern-fried funk and adrenalin-fueled blues-rock, with Robertson backed by Stax-style vocalists Sandra and Tonya Dye. Black Stone Cherry can still write killer hooks, too: “Long Ride” is a power ballad in classic ’70s rock fashion, complete with a rousing anthemic chorus and melodic guitar fills by Wells. The band updates Edwin Starr’s psychedelic soul classic “War” with fat baritone saxophone, brass, dirty, in-the-red distorted guitars, and a large backing chorus. Robertson’s vocal is filled with righteous indignation as the band swells toward volcanic eruption. The vintage Southern rock vibe on “Cheaper to Drink Alone” is classic BSC, but it’s steeped in such a catchy melody, it will likely be covered by harder, edgier contemporary country acts. Wells’ guitar break is one of his meatiest on record. “Hangman” is steeped in squalling, hard-riffing blues with a hooky chorus, while “Rescue Me,” despite its brief gospelized intro, is the meanest, leanest thing on the set. The groove-centric intro of “Feelin’ Fuzzy” gives way to a funky backbeat with guitars on stun. Closer “Darkest Secret” closes the album circle with off-the-rails metallic hard rock (complete with a Black Sabbath-style breakdown), though the chorus is drenched in Southern groove. Kentucky marks the first time BSC have balanced all of their writing strengths with their concert presence. The album is a grower. After a listen or two, Black Stone Cherry’s back-to-the-cradle approach proves that track for track, Kentucky is not only more consistent, but more satisfying than previous albums. ~~AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

1. The Way Of The Future 03:53
2. In Our Dreams 03:49
3. Shakin’ My Cage 04:10
4. Soul Machine 04:01
5. Long Ride 04:03
6. War 04:07
7. Hangman 03:57
8. Cheaper To Drink Alone 03:51
9. Rescue Me 03:47
10. Feelin’ Fuzzy 03:15
11. Darkest Secret 04:01
12. Born To Die 04:33
13. The Rambler 05:09

Bonus Tracks:
14. I Am The Lion 03:35
15. Evil 04:11

Chris Robertson – lead vocals, lead guitar
Ben Wells – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Jon Lawhon- bass guitar, backing vocals
John Fred Young – drums, percussion, piano, backing vocals