Black Stone Cherry - 'Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea'
Released Through Roadrunner Records on may 31, 2011
Chris Robertson - lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Ben Wells - rhythm and lead guitar, sitar, backing vocals
Jon Lawhon - bass guitar, backing vocals
John Fred Young - drums, percussion, backing vocals, harmonica, piano
1.) "White Trash Millionaire" -The intro to this track opens with a small lead guitar effect over the top of John & Jon playing quarter-notes on the cymbals and bass. The musical verse consisted of one of the guitarists playing a standard rhythm riff while the other was playing a lead rhythm under it. The lead rhythm was very reminiscent to the way Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society) writes his main rhythms. This automatically gave the song a mean sound!! The band altered the main musical rhythm underneath the lyric lines of the verse. Jon's bass line of the musical verse gave the song a huge hook. There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus. For the musical arrangement connecting the first chorus with the second verse Ben & Chris swap guitar rhythm's putting the lead guitar rhythm on top of the rhythm. The band changed the musical rhythm for the second verse. The lead guitar solo connects the second chorus with the breakdown section. The way the band wrote the breakdown would make it a great song to perform live. There is a minor solo underneath the third chorus before the coda.
2.) "Killing Floor" - This track opens with an Indian feel to it. Underneath the rhythm guitar riff John is playing a percussion section on his cymbals. As this section progresses john begins playing a tom-tom rhythm. For the musical verse a second rhythm guitar kicks-in playing the same rhythm as the first missus the Indian sound. On the second measure of the musical verse the guitar riff from the intro kicks back in. If I had saw this idea wrote down on paper I would have said it would never work. However the guys make not only work but sound amazing! The band bring the music down underneath Chris's lyric lines. For the vocals of the verse Chris channeled the late great Layne Staley with 100 percent perfection! The only person that has came this close is Alice's new vocalist William DuVall. To give them an even more Layne sound Chris double-tracked his lead vocals on the verse. This is something I think Layne done on every song he recorded. There is a small musical change for the musical chorus. Though the backing vocal harmonies are very simple they're what gives the chorus it's huge hook. For the second verse the guys completely change the rhythm guitar. After the second chorus there is a small lead guitar solo that leads into a breakdown section. The breakdown section musically consisted of a rhythm guitar played with an effects pedal and a hi-hat pattern.
3.) "In My Blood" - The electric rhythm that opens this track has an early nineties alternative feel to it. instead of changing the rhythm for the musical pre-verse the guys just incorporated an acoustic guitar. this acoustic guitar arrangement fills-in some of the empty spaces of the electric giving the musical pre-verse a more full sound. Instead of changing the rhythm for the musical verse the band just added a third rhythm guitar arrangement. The music change is not until the chorus. There is a minor lead guitar solo lick connecting the third and fourth lyric lines of the second verse. The lead guitar solo connects the second and third choruses of the song. There is a minor lead guitar solo underneath the vocal lines of the coda.
4.) "Such a Shame " - It sounds like for this intro there are two different rhythm guitar riffs. For the musical verse both guitarist switch to playing the same rhythm. There is a music arrangement change for the musical pre-chorus. The hook of the chorus is huge!!!Musically this song is very simply written with not a lot going on. Usually when reviewing a release and I come across a song such as this, I will usually say this song was used as a filler track. However, lyrically this track makes the song!!!!
5.) "Won't Let Go " -This track opens with a very short amplified acoustic guitar rhythm. The band used the same rhythm for the musical verse as the one they used for the intro. The bass and drum line kick-in on the fifth lyric line. At this point the song is very reminiscent to the stuff Hootie & The Blowfish were writing on their freshmen release titled, 'Cracked Rear View' released on July 5, 1994. The chorus has a huge hook attached to it. This track should be released as a single.
6.) "Blame It On The Boom Boom" - The intro to this track opens with a simple rhythm guitar riff coming out of the right speaker. Out of the left speaker John is playing a simple hi-hat rhythm. There is a small drum fill connecting the intro with the musical verse. The guys used the same rhythm guitar riff for the intro as the one for the musical verse. There is a backing harmony and rhythm guitar change connecting musical verse with the musical chorus. About halfway through the chorus the band change the chorus just a little this little change gives the chorus it's hook. After the first chorus there is a small spoken vocal line. There is a lead guitar solo after the second chorus this leads to a breakdown section. The coda consisted of repeated chorus.
7.) "Like I Roll" - This track opens with a rhythm guitar riff over the top of john keeping time with his hi-hat. In between the hi-hat and rhythm guitar riff a second guitar kicks-in playing a very simple lead repeated lead lick/rhythm. The bass and drum line kick-in on the second measure. The band used the same rhythm guitar riff of the intro as the one for the musical verse. For me the main instrumentation of the musical verse was the bass line. There is a small drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. The way the chorus was written was very reminiscent of Hootie & The Blowfish. Underneath the last lyric line of the first chorus there is a small pick slide. Underneath a the choruses there are little minor lead guitar licks. The major lead guitar solo is over top the coda.
8.) "Can't You See" - Cover of the Marshall Tucker Band hit released of their self-titled release in April 1973.
9.) "Let Me See You Shake" - This intro consisted of a repeated lead lick/rhythm over the top of John keeping time with his sticks. There is a snare drum fill connecting the intro with the musical verse. The band keep the same lead lick/rhythm as the one for the intro. However they add a second rhythm guitar over the top of it playing a different rhythm. There is a tom-tom fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus. There is a repeated lead guitar lick through-out the musical chorus. The verse after the first chorus is actually the first verse of the song. The bass line and drum line of the verse gives the song a solid groove. This would be one hell of a bar dance song!!!!!
10.) "Stay " -This track consisted of no intro section. instead the song opens with a single acoustic rhythm riff before Chris kicks the vocals in. As the musical verse progresses the drums & bass line kick-in along with an electric guitar rhythm. In many ways, the way the band set the verse up reminded me of Theory of a Deadman. This is especially evident during the chorus. There is a minor lead guitar solo underneath the vocal lines of the chorus. For the second verse they added an echo to Chris's vocal lines. This added a nice effect to the song. There is a lead guitar solo after the second chorus.
11.) "Change" - This track opens with the rhythm guitar, bass line and drum line all three playing the same notes. The musical change that opens the verse was very reminiscent to the band's song titled "Lonely Train" released off their first CD on July 18, 2006. Te rhythm guitar of the musical verse had a very simple feel to it. During the verse there are a couple real cool backing vocal harmonies. There is a simple arrangement change for the musical chorus. there is a minor lead guitar rhythm underneath the lyric lines of the second verse. The lead guitar solo section had an abstract feel to it. The chorus in many ways has a Shinedown feel to it.
12.) "All I'm Dreamin' Of" - This intro consisted of an acoustic guitar arrangement along with a secondary instrument. This may be the song that consisted of the sitar however the instrument sounded more like a banjo. For the musical verse the guys drop what I'm going to call the banjo rhythm and change the acoustic guitar arrangement. Instead of changing the rhythm for the pre-chorus the band added what sounds like a slide guitar. As an alternative for a standard hi-hat pattern john opted to play a tom-tom rhythm instead. Underneath the second verse there is what sounds like to be a mandolin arrangement.
First and foremost the state of Kentucky is known for two things Bluegrass Music (For you die-hard metal heads out there. Bluegrass music is a backwoods form of early Country music) and the Kentucky Derby. However, with the release of Black Stone Cherry's third full length CD titled, 'The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea'. Kentucky should be now also known for breeding solid heavy metal bands.
This statement was taken from a band bio on line, "Though they draw comparisons to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Stone Cherry focus less on Southern pride and classic rock, instead telling simple stories about family and romantic relationships...." These are subjects you usually don't see bands where there oldest member is just twenty write about!!!
From time to time people will ask who do they sound like, and my usual response is they sound like know one, they have their sound. However, Black Stone Cherry sounds like everyone! I own all three Black Stone Cherry releases and I can say without a doubt this is by far the best!! I am a proud supporter and very proud to say I am from the same state a Black Stone Cherry!