When Black Stone Cherry (BSC) announced a new album I would be lying if I said that I was overly excited. The last couple of albums had not impressed me, as they moved into a more commercial territory and away from that edge that made me fall for the band in the first place. I did however read that they were looking to get back towards their roots and the earlier albums. Still a bit skeptical I was pleasantly surprised to hear that they actually stayed true to their word, with singles Way of the Future and in Our Dreams.
Most elements that make up BSC songs are still here. I am taking about the dual guitar work, the pounding rhythms and the raspy deep voice of Chris Robinson. There are however some surprises as well and I like how the incorporate some new elements to the songs, such as the brass section and gospel singers in Soul Machine, fitting addition to that particular song. They are heard again on the cover or Edwin Starr’s War, which is a funky number.
You can still hear that this is a BSC album in many of the songs as Hangman and Rescue Me. Some of the songs sound like they could have been taken from the debut album or Folklore and Superstition. This is good news in my book and more than once I find myself nodding along and tapping my feet to the music (maybe there were also some air guitar being played here and there, but I have no official comment about that rumor). Darkest secret is another nice tune, probably the heaviest song on the album. Shakin’ My Cage is also worth mentioning among the good songs on Kentucky.
They close the regular version of the album with the song The Rambler, an acoustic, country-ish tune about life on the road and missing the family at home. A very honest tune with some beautiful guitar strumming throughout the song. There are two extra songs on the deluxe album and if you have a chance to get that, go for it as it is more songs of the same quality as the previous songs.
Overall I am happy with Kentucky, it is a very solid album and much better then Magic Mountain if you ask me. Maybe they way of the future is to take a step back towards one’s root before heading forward again. For BSC this has certainly been the case, as this is much more lively and vibrant than the past two releases. A nice return to form, welcome back boys!