Published 1 year ago on August 23, 2019
By Jonathan Graham
Out: 18th October
via Mascot Label Group/Mascot Records
The Kentucky heroes return with a tribute to Freddie King, Robert Johnson, Otis Rush, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James and Son House
Black Stone Cherry return with another riotous, rip roaring tribute to their blues heroes on Black To Blues Volume 2, which will be released on October 18th via Mascot Label Group/Mascot Records.
The first track to be released from the record is their own take on Robert Johnsons’ ‘Me And The Devil Blues.’ Talking about it the band says; “We chose this song because we have such an appreciation for Robert Johnson and his music. It was so simple, direct, and eerie in a way that just resonates with the listener. Since Roberts music was guitar and vocal, we decided to totally write new music and lay his words on top of it. All of the music was written literally on the spot while recording in the studio! We are very proud of how this track came out!”
The first instalment of the series, Black To Blues, was released in 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 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 recording this project!!”.
Since the last blues EP the band released their latest studio album ‘Family Tree’ (2018), which reached the Top 10 UK Album Chart (their 3rd in a row) and Billboard Top 10 Hard Rock Albums. The band spent the time following that 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 criss-crossed 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.
The EP kicks off with Robertson introducing McKendree on the organ as they launch into Freddie King’s ‘Big Legged Woman.’ It’s wild, raucous and has their own unmistakeable groove woven through the song as has their unrelenting take on Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Down In The Bottom’ – both legends covered on the previous record. Talking about King and Wolf, guitarist Ben Wells says; “Those are some of our absolute favourites. We always identify with those guys ‘cause they had grooves and riffs like we would put in our tunes. So we are naturally drawn to that.”
This is where the link between the blues and Black Stone Cherry weaves in so perfectly, the groove and heart of those early songs embody the essence and beginnings of Kentucky’s favourite rockers. “Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Howlin’ Wolf, and the like,” Wells explains, “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.”
Fans that have seen the band grow over their ascent to arenas will have often seen their love for the blues with songs regularly making into the live set. This time around they bring in Robert Johnsons’ howling ‘Me And The Devil Blues’, the sultry slow burning ‘All Your Love (I Miss Loving)’ originally performed by Mississippi legend Otis Rush, and Elmore James classic ‘Early One Morning,’ one of the wildest stand out songs from the one the links between traditional Delta and Chicago blues.
The album closes with their take on ‘Death Letter Blues’ by Son House, which long-time fans will be familiar with from the band’s live set and also featured on 2014 live album Thank You: Livin’ Live Birmingham. Talking about the reaction of the fans Wells enthuses; “It’s incredible!! The coolest part is hearing young fans say they never listened to these artists until we made them aware of them. That’s amazing for us!”
Once again, Black Stone Cherry stamp their own unmistakable personality on these deep cut classic. The torch of the blues has been passed on from generation to generation and Kentucky’s favourite sons are lighting that torch to be seen even further to pass on these gems.
The band will be coming back to 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.
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
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