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Friday, 3 June 2011

An homage to the new champions

Way back when, in the distant annals of 2006, Hot Chick played me a track called Hell and High Water by some unknown Southern rock outfit called Black Stone Cherry. I thought it was an alright tune but it didn't cause any scrotal tightening. She then bought their self-titled debut album and on one particular car journey, she stuck the CD on to my complete unbotheredness.

Opening track Rain Wizard started up and by the time the first verse came in I was hooked. It was without doubt one of the best, pure rock and roll albums I'd heard in years. Despite my initial ambivalence to lead single Hell and High Water, there isn't a single stinker on the album.

Black Stone Cherry played at the well-missed London Astoria in October 2007 (after being moved from smaller venue LA2 due to popular demand), and the set was recorded and pressed on CD on the night. In keeping with their humble roots, the BSC lads took the stage and were so grateful that they promised to come and chat to all the crowd and sign anything that needed signing once they'd come off stage.

Second album Folklore and Superstition was an absolute belter, and BSC continued their theme of opening up with a winning anthem in the shape of Blind Man. The gigs and tours that followed included major slots alongside the likes of Def Leppard and Whitesnake, as well as continually brilliant appearances at the major UK festivals.

Skip to the end, MADman...

The Cherry's latest album has recently hit the shelves. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea had a huge amount of promise based on lead singles Blame it on the Boom Boom and White Trash Millionaire. So Hot Chick dutifully bought it on release day and I sat down to give it a listen.

The infamous "tricky third album".

And they have fucking nailed it once again. They may be a more polished, better looking, older, more mainstream version of their 2006 selves but bugger me sideways if this isn't yet another moment of pure Southern rock and roll excellence. So often a band loses their way and becomes too mainstream, or too generic, but BSC have kept their roots whilst spreading their wings. There's nothing complex about the content and to a degree, a lot of the tracks are quite predictable but sometimes you want to throw on a record, chug a beer, drive round to your buddy's house in a Ford F150 truck and go shoot some animals 'n' shit. This is the soundtrack to that afternoon and it is marvellous.

I could spend a lot of time discussing these legends from Kentucky but I shan't; instead, I politely suggest you buy everything they own, sit in the sun and enjoy the noise of the South. Y'all.

Much love

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