Black Stone Cherry – ‘Folklore And Superstition’

Released through Roadrunner Records in 2008
www.blackstonecherry.com/
www.myspace.com/blackstonecherry

THE BAND:
Chris Robertson – lead vocal, rhythm & slide guitar
Ben Wells – acoustic & lead guitars, backing vocals
Jon Lawhon – bass & backing vocals
John Fred Young – drums, percussion & backing vocals


TRACK FRAGMENENTS:
1.) “Blind Man” – This intro opens with a bass drum count-off.  A rhythm guitar riff kicks-in after five beats of the bass drum.  The bass drum continues until the main intro section kicks-in.  The main intro section consists of the entire band playing a very simple classic rock into arrangement.  The arrangement changes for the musical verse.  I loved the way the band arranged the lyrical arrangements around the musical arrangements.  There is a small arrangement change for the musical pre-chorus where the band slows the music down just a little.  There also is a backing vocal section that runs underneath the lead vocal lines.  Though I felt the chorus could have had a stronger hook than it did.  The hook was strong enough to carry the chorus.  There is a small musical bridge connecting the third chorus with the lead guitar solo.  The way the solo section was produced forces the underling musical arrangements to overpower the solo.  
2.) “Please Come In” – This intro opens with a very simple laid back rhythm guitar riff over the top of a hi-hat pattern.  A drum fill connects this pre-intro with the main intro section.  This main intro section consisted of the same guitar riff as the pre-intro only both Chris & Ben are playing it, which gives it a heavier thicker sound.  For the opening musical verse the guitarists play a couple strumming riffs before going back into the same rhythm as the intro section.  Musically the musical verses of this song have a very huge hook to them.  There is a drastic musical change for the musical chorus.  The rhythm guitars go from very heavy guitar riffs of the verse to a simple ballad style picking pattern of the chorus.  I wish the chorus had of had a better hook much like the verse had.  At times the bass line had a very Paul McCartney feel to it. (For those that are now scratching your heard.  Listen to the bass line from “Golden Slumber” from ‘Abby Road’.)  There is a musical change connecting the second verse with the second chorus.  The solo is after the second chorus and mainly is just a few guitar licks.  There is a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the outro section.    
3.) “Reverend Winkle” – This track opens with two different rhythm guitar riffs before going into the main intro section.  The main introit section consisted of a very simple rhythm guitar riff.  The musical verse had a much laid back feel to it.  The third vocal line was double tracked.  There is a small rhythm change for the musical pre-chorus.  In the way the way the pre-chorus and chorus where arranged caused them to almost run one into another.  Really the only thing distinguishing the two is the hi-hat opening and closing of the pre-chorus.  After the second chorus there is a small almost Primus influenced breakdown section.  This section leads into the lead guitar solo.  There is a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the outro section.
4.) “Soulcreek” - This intro consisted of a very simple lead guitar rhythm over the top of a ride cymbal pattern.  This section is the only intro.  There is a rhythm arrangement change for the musical verse.  I really liked the way the band arranged they rhythm guitar arrangements around the vocal lines of the verses. You cannot get any simpler than the chorus of this track.  There is a small vocal accent leading into the second verse.  One could say this song was very reminiscent of Kid Rock’s material, if he wrote his own music instead of sampling everyone else’s.  The lead guitar solo connects the second and third choruses.  The third chorus was arranged like a breakdown section.
5.) “Things My Father Said” –This is….well…just one hell of a ballad!!!!
6.) “The Bitter End” – This track opens with a special effect that leads into a sixteenth-note hi-hat pattern.  This leads into a double-bass drum rhythm and snare fill underneath a very simple yet intense rhythm guitar riff.  The main intro section is the same musical arrangement outside of the fact that Bob Marlette, the guy who produced, recorded and mixed the release turns the volume up using the mixing board.  The rhythm of the musical verse basically stays the same as the main intro outside of the drum line change.  The drum rhythm of the musical chorus was done with just snare drum and bass drum.  Chris’s vocals on the verse where very reminiscent of Lane Staley formerly of Alice And Chains.  In the way the song was produced you can barely hear the rhythm guitar of the verse.  The vocals of the pre-chorus had an abstract hook attached to them.  It sounded as if there was a backing harmony attached to the lead vocal lines of the verses.  There is a small musical rest connecting the musical verse with the lead guitar solo.  The lead guitar solo breaks off into a Country music riff before going back into the lead guitar solo.
7.) “Long Sleeves” – There is a small electric guitar effect that opens this track before going into the main intro sector ion.  The main musical had a Wolfmother feel to it.  There is a small lead guitar rhythm over the top of the main rhythm guitar of the intro section.  There is an arrangement change for the musical verse.  I loved the way they guys set the pre-chorus up!!!!!  The song in all of its abstractness could possibly be the best song on the CD!
8.) “Peace Is Free”–The intro to this track consisted of two different acoustic guitar rhythms.  There is a small snare/tom tom fill that connect the intro with the musical verse.  In many ways the vocal lines of the verse reminded me of Chris Daughtey along with other artist of that vein.  The two different acoustic rhythms continue through the musical verse.  There is an electric lead overdub used as a fill-in instrument.  The way the band done the backing harmonies of the chorus gave a crowd effect.  This is just a very s and vocals.  Chris’simple yet very cool semi-ballad.  The solo worked perfectly for this song!!!!
9.) “Devil’s Queen” – This track from beginning to end was very reminiscent of the modern day Lynard Skynard with Johnny Van Zant.
10.) “The Key” – This intro opens with a strange little electric guitar effect.  For the main intro the guys used the same guitar riff that opened the song just without the effect.  The intro has a very heavy sound to it.  There is a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the intro section.  The vocals of the verse where done with a special effect.  The third and fourth vocal line of the verse was double tracked.  There is an arrangement change for the musical chorus.  The musical arrangements of the verses along with the effect Chris used give this song a downright dirty feel. Then you add in the hook of the chorus and basically what you have is a perfectly written song.  The breakdown section reminded me of something Steven Tyler of Areosmith would write!  As a musician I fell in live with this track.
11.) “You” -  This intro opens with an acoustic guitar arrangement.  Over the top of the arrangement there is a minor lead guitar solo.  This minor solo sounded like it was done with a slide guitar.  The verse was done with acoustic guitar & vocals.  Chris’s vocals have a Gregg Allman feel to them.  After the verse the song picks-up with an arrangement change for the musical pre-chorus.  The pre-chorus had a huge hook attached to it.  The brush of the drum line was a nice effect.  All in all this is a very cool song and I see no reason why if this was the band’s next single that it should not be played on the radio!
12.) “Sunrise” –This track opens with the verse.  The pre-verse consisted of just vocals & guitar.  The song picks up for the verse.  The musical arrangements of the musical verse have a middle nineties feel.  For the chorus the band must have smoked a blunt and summoned their inner Bob Marley because right out of left field comes this reggae chorus arrangement.  Don’t ask me how but the guys make everything work with the ending product sounding better than it reads. 
13.) “Ghost Of Floyd Collins” – Being from Kentucky and knowing the Floyd Collins story, I’m not saying anything bad about this song!!!!!!

My wife thought in general Chris’s vocals were very reminiscent to the vocals Brent Smith of Shinedown recorded on their hit song “Second Chances” taken off of their new CD ‘Sound Of Madness’. So if you have never had the chance to hear Black Stone Cherry’s first release you can go by her words and have some general idea of what Chris sounds like. Personally, I felt musically, vocally and lyrically, ‘Folklore And Superstitions’ was very reminiscent to the bands first release. If you liked the first release then you will love this one!!!! From a musician’s stand point, the only difference between Black Stone Cherry’s two releases is  ‘Folklore And Superstitions’ the band’s song writing has improved!!!!