12 February 2009

Blown Away by Black Stone Cherry!

I am thinking about more than rock 'n' roll these days. In fact, I've got several more important things on my mind, which I'd like to blog about and eventually will. But I've also got too many pots on the stove at the moment, and focusing my thoughts into written words is difficult while I'm waiting for my daughter to be born. So, under the circumstances, a little r'n'r has been a welcome distraction. It has also led me to a welcome discovery this week.

I've eyed Black Stone Cherry on the shelf at Target, off and on, for the past six months or more. Their second record, Folklore and Superstition, looked promising, but I really wasn't sure; I'd never heard of this group before, and I was reluctant to spend the money on an offside chance. Recently, though, inspired by Chinese Democracy and the musical interests I share with my son Zach, I did a little looking online to see what I could find on Black Stone Cherry. The description and reviews on Amazon were encouraging, and that further piqued my interest. So, when I spotted Folklore and Superstition for a bargain price at Wal-Mart, I finally snagged it.

Wow! These guys are great. They've taken a classic rock sound and made it their own, and they have got the chops to do it. Nothing outdated about this music, but it hearkens back to the glory days of the rampaging early 70s. It rocks without being raunchy or racy. It's thoughtful without being artsy. It's interesting without losing the energy or the fun. It's got both variety and solid consistency.

I've been racking my brain to know how best to describe this best new find of 009. Comparing Black Stone Cherry to other bands doesn't do them justice, but how else does one define something new? Lots of people emulate the classics, or try to, but most of them end up sounding like cover bands or karaoke chumps. Not so in this case. Black Stone Cherry sounds like the real deal to me; not by imitation, but by living and growing from within a tradition they were clearly weaned on. Think Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Lynyrd Skynyrd; there's definitely a southern rock component to this band. There's some Eric Clapton sensibilities, too, and occasional shades of Jimi Hendrix. But think back to early Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, and even early Metallica. Channel all of that through Daughtry and Velvet Revolver, and you're getting close to Black Stone Cherry. Then again, oddly enough, there are times when I am most reminded of Tim McGraw when he's in his own 1970s classic rock groove.

In sum, Black Stone Cherry has blown me away like nothing else I've discovered in quite a while. Highlights include "Blind Man," "Things My Father Said," "Long Sleeves," "Peace Is Free," "You," and "Ghost of Floyd Collins." But there aren't any duds among the thirteen tracks on Folklore and Supersitition. Recommended for anyone who likes to rock.

1 comment:

Rev. James Leistico said...

"focusing my thoughts into written words is difficult while I'm waiting for my daughter to be born"

ditto. well, other than the number of daughters to be born.