Black Stone Cherry have been touring Europe extensively; including a 2018 UK Arena Tour with Monster Truck, a mainstage sub-headline performance at Download Festival – under Guns ‘n’ Roses – plus performances at Graspop, Rock am Ring and stand out sets this summer at Wacken Open Air, a sold-out Caerphilly Castle (Wales) and an explosive headline slot at Ramblin’ Man Fair. They have also crisscrossed their way around the US including shows with Gov’t Mule, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Three Doors Down and Lynyrd Skynyrd. In amongst all of this, they still found time to record a hip-shaking new record and once again produced by the band themselves, they recorded it at Monocle Studios in Sulphur Well, KY.
‘Black To Blues Volume 2’ sees the band re-work, in their own inimitable style, tracks by the blues masters, Freddie King, Robert Johnson, Otis Rush, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and Son House.
The first installment of the series, Black To Blues, was released on October 2017 and crashed straight into #1 in the Billboard Blues Chart and reached the top 30 UK album chart with a wave of praise from both the press and fans.
Following the reaction to the release, Chris Robertson said; “We could have never dreamed of the reaction we got from “Black to Blues”. It was amazing to have such a positive reaction to our take on some of our biggest influences in music. Now we are back for round two and we have added our great friend Yates Mckendree on organ/keys and he also makes an appearance on guitar! We kept a couple of artists in the line-up from last time and introduced a few others into the mix as well! We can’t wait for everyone to hear and feel how much fun we had recorded this project!!”.
Whilst paying tribute to the past masters the band aim to educate younger fans into these classic songs and this is where this EP really shines. Blues fans will instantly recognize these classic tracks but will enjoy this whole new take.
The opener, Freddie King’s, Big Legged Woman has the unmistakable BSC groove and the addition of Yates Mckendreee’s on keys brings the track alive. Yet its the groove that grabs you and that is what makes the LP so special. The band keeps the feel of the original and the playing styles of the original artists, whilst making it their own. Going back to their roots is what these tracks are all about and you can certainly hear the licks and grooves in their original material. The great Robert Johnson takes center stage next in possibly the best track on the EP (Although to be fair it’s hard to pick a favorite). “Me and the Devil Blues” is a Johnson classic and the re-working with a superb keys solo is simply sublime.
But the fun doesn’t stop there as the EP just keeps giving.. Take the groove on the cover of Otis Rush’s “All Your Love”, the changes in time signature are handled with care yet the unmistakable feel is that of a Black Stone Cherry track.
The EP closes with a song that those who have seen the band perform live will be very familiar with .. ‘Death Letter Blues’ by Son House and although the song has appeared on their 2014 live LP, this studio version is a fitting close to a superb LP. Ben Wells guitar work shines through …“we used to listen to that constantly growing up, and still do. It’s what we grew up playing and learning together. It’s the DNA of what our band is. It’s not just us covering songs. It’s about doing our own version of each song.”
The band is back in Europe to support Alice Cooper in September as well as heading back to the US for shows with Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Lacs before heading over to Australia with Halestorm.
Back To Blues Volume 2 is out Nov 1st Via Mascot Label Group/Mascot Records
1. Big Legged Woman
2. Me & The Devil Blues
3. All Your Love (I Miss Loving)
4. Down In The Bottom
5. Early One Morning
6. Death Letter Blues
Review: Mark Ellis