Out Now

(Mascot Label Group)

 

Inspired by last year’s blinding Black To Blues EP, Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry have further mined the myriad influences shaping their youth to create a melting pot of modern rock.

The band willingly revisit the blues but nothing’s off limits: the funked-up James Brown will, as the name suggests, divide opinion where this ever-evolving quartet is concerned. But what’s the betting it will become a firm live favourite?

There’s a distinctive ZZ Top tone underpinning the driving Burnin’ and the organ-inspired intro. to the thought-provoking My Last Breath works an absolute treat: just the evocative Chris Robertson and a few carefully selected keys make for one of the highlights of a truly surprising album.

Black Stone Cherry haven’t ditched the Southern rock-fired bombast that built their reputation but the subtle changes add substance – and an occasional swagger – to that trademark sound. Robertson and Ben Wells bounce off each other from start to finish and as a six-string partnership they sound tighter and mightier than ever.

There’s something to be said for sticking together and the glue that has bonded Black Stone Cherry for 17 years lays the foundation for a record oozing self-confidence and style. Robertson, Wells, Jon Lawhon and John Fred Young have been there from the start and Family Tree represents the glorious growth of this band of brothers.

On their sixth long player the quartet celebrate their roots and branch out – never more so that on the emotive set closer and title track. Think you know Black Stone Cherry? Think again.