Formed in 2001, Black Stone Cherry are a four piece hailing from Edmonton, Kentucky. It’s been 10 years since the quartet released their debut self-titled album, now in 2016, they’re back with their unique mix of hard and southern rock with their 5th studio album, ‘Kentucky’.
The opening track ‘The Way of the Future’ starts off with a distorted guitar riff that sounds like a freight train, and you’re instantly reacquainted with Black Stone Cherry. The collar grabbing chorus sets the album up to be business as usual for the Kentucky four piece, whilst a compilation of different guitar effects offer up different elements.
‘In Our Dreams’ and ‘Shakin’ My Cage’ follow suit with hard hitting guitar riffs, and a formula that the quartet have built their career around. Unfortunately the mixing of the track sounds off and the vocals are over shadowed by the guitars.
The album is filled with uplifting melodies and well worked guitar soloing, with some additional dynamics in ‘Soul Machine’ and ‘Rescue Me’ including some soulful backing vocals and a church choir introduction that catches you off guard. ‘Feelin’ Fuzzy’ and ‘The Rambler’ are two of the standout tracks, a memorable chorus and a country style acoustic track that has some accompanying violin that closes the album like an emotional farewell.
In all honestly, ‘Kentucky’ sounds somewhat rushed. Less than two years down the line from the four piece’s 4th studio album ‘Magic Mountain’ was released, there’s no greater example than the 6th track on the album, ‘War’. An Edwin Starr cover that shows signs of lack of imagination, and lack of time they spent in getting this album out.
This is far from Black Stone Cherry’s best work, ‘Kentucky’ will cement itself as just another album to join in with the back catalogue of songs. But if one thing above all else is shown from this release, is that Black Stone Cherry are still hungry and capable of writing arena filling tracks 15 years down the line.