If you thought they’d run out of tricks up their sleeves, Black Stone Cherry’s ‘Kentucky’ is here to prove you sorely wrong. With twists and turns aplenty, there’s life in the rodeo cowboys yet.
Any other outfit in the same narrow niche would appear tired beyond the debut, but ‘Kentucky’ stands to suggest that Black Stone Cherry not only have immense staying power, but they actually want to stick around too.
Throughout the rolling rodeo sass of ‘The Way of the Future’, the commanding presence of drummer John Fred Young makes it clear that time is an incredible unifier for the southern quartet. The menacing fantasy of ‘In Our Dreams’ is a great new venture – an anthem to escape as gravelly and intense as its accompanying Game of Thrones-esque concept video.
Drawing on their melodic roots, ‘Shakin’ My Cage’ bursts with a captivating solo – they’re at their instrumental best here. From the sassy strutfest of ‘Soul Machine’ to the raspy swagger of an unexpectedly great cover of ‘War’, their lifeblood is well and truly on fire.
Perch in the rocking chair on the porch with a shotgun and a whiskey to the noodly solo of ‘Cheaper to Drink Alone’, before the surreal sexy tension of ‘Feelin’ Fuzzy’ kicks in. Meanwhile, the tricksy heaviness of ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘Darkest Secret’ showcase a gorgeous reckless streak to get some decent rage brewing.
Etched with resigned wisdom and powerful memories of their journey so far, ‘Born to Die’ leads into the raw tear-jerking ‘The Rambler’ packing the closing moments with sore sentiment. Written when frontman Chris Robertson lost a close family member, this highlight proves beyond all doubt that even when their sassy persona rules, there’s still plenty more sad songs left to write.
An astounding compilation of their talents, ‘Kentucky’ is frankly their best yet. With enough clout to floor the Goliath of doubt that the scene levels at them, Black Stone Cherry are nowhere near done yet.
’Kentucky’ by Black Stone Cherry is out now on Mascot Label Group.
Words by Ali Cooper (@AliZombie_)