Black Stone Cherry - 'Magic Mountain'

 


THE BAND:
Chris Robertson - lead vocals, lead guitar
Ben Wells - rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Jon Lawhon- bass guitar, backing vocals
John Fred Young - drums, percussion, piano, backing vocals



TRACK FRAGMENTS:
1.) "Hold On...To Let Go" - This intro opens with the buzz of an amp being turned on and someone plugging up their guitar.  There is a lot of feedback from the guitar.  John leads the band to the musical kick-in with a hi-hat count off.  Over the top of the hi-hat Ben plays a very simple rhythm guitar riff.  After two measures there was a snare drum fill connecting the pre-intro with the main intro section. For the main intro Chris, Ben and Jon play the same musical notes.  This gives the main intro a very heavy feel.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  There is an echo attached to the last lyric of each lyric line.  However, the way the way they recorded the rhythm guitar you can only hear the echo very now and then.  There was a snare drum fill connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus.  Underneath the second chorus there are two different rhythm guitar arrangements.  After the second chorus there is a lead guitar solo.  The coda ended with a special effects.   

2.) "Peace Pipe" - This track opens with a snare drum fill underneath a rhythm guitar arrangement.  The rhythm guitar is playing the same notes as the snare fill.  The rhythm guitar of the main intro had a very simple feel to it. There was a small tom-tom fill connecting the main musical intro with the musical verse.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  The band dragged the fourth lyric line out just a little longer than the rest of the lyric lines.  For the musical chorus the band slowed the song down just a little.  The lead guitar solo connected the second chorus with the third chorus.  Several of the lead guitar notes were double-tracked. 
 3.) "Bad Luck & Hard Love" - This track opens with a heavily influenced Jimi Hendrix guitar riff over the top of a hi-hat pattern.  As the intro progresses John adds a bass drum kick.  For the musical verse the band added a second rhythm guitar.  This rhythm guitar was different than the first one.  The lyrics of the verse have a signature Black Stone Cherry sound to thes.m.  Underneath the third lyric line a second rhythm guitar kicks-in.  This rhythm guitar is different than the first one.  There was like a very short breakdown section connecting the musical verse with the musical chorus.  The choruses had a huge hook attached to them.  There was a minor lead guitar solo underneath the second verse.  I really liked the way the guys arranged the backing music underneath the lead guitar solo. 
4.) "Me And Mary Jane" - Musically this track was very reminiscent to the stuff the band was writing on their freshman release.  

5.) "Runaway" - This was an amazing semi-ballad!!!!
6.) "Magic Mountain" - This intro opens with John playing a heavily influenced John Lord of Deep Purple keyboard arrangement.  After a few keyboard notes the main intro arrangement kicks-in.  There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the main intro with the musical verse.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  The musical chorus had a huge Black Stone Cherry hook attached to it.  There was a minor lead guitar solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse.  The major solo connects the second chorus with a very short breakdown section. There were several lead guitar licks over the top of the coda.   
7.) "Never Surrender" - This intro opens with two separate lead guitar licks over the top of a snare drum fill.  After about one measure there was a drastic very intense rhythm guitar change.  This intro was very reminiscent to a lot of the musical intros the band wrote on their first release.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  For the drum line of the verse John used an opening and closing hi-hat pattern.  The musical verse had a huge hook attached to it.  There was a small tom-tom fill connecting the first chorus with the second verse.
8.) "Blow My Mind" - This short intro consisted of a minor lead guitar solo.  The band used the same rhythm guitar arrangement for the musical verse as the one for the intro.  There are minor lead guitar licks underneath the lead vocal lines of the verse.  To connect the musical verse with the chorus John switched from a standard hi-hat pattern to a pattern played on his tom-toms.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical chorus.  There was a lead guitar solo connecting the second chorus with the third chorus. 
9.) "Sometimes" - This was an amazing ballad!!!!
10,) "Fiesta Del Fuego" - This track opens with a bass line before the main intro kicks-in.  There was a minor lead guitar solo over the top of the main intro section.  There was a rhythm guitar change for the musical verse.  The musical verse consisted of two separate rhythm guitar arrangements.  The vocals of the chorus had a late nineties sound to them.  There was a lead guitar solo after the first chorus.  I did not think this track fit in with Black Stone's style of music.    
11.) "Dance Girl" - The rhythm guitar of this intro section had a Funk feel to it.  The musical verse consisted of two different rhythm guitar arrangements.  The band kept the musical chorus very short and simple.  After the second chorus there was a lead guitar solo.  After the lead guitar solo there was a breakdown section.  The breakdown section lead to a section lead guitar solo.  For me the highligh of this song was the lead guitar solo.
12.) "Hollywood In Kentucky" - From beginning to end this was a very simple song with huge hooks.  It also shows the Country Music the guys have.
13.) "Remember Me" - This was a very well structured song that has Black Stone Cherry's stamp all over it! 



     In 2006, Black Stone Cherry stole the Hard Rock flag from Nickelback and ran with it.  Since then the band has been carrying the flag loud and proud.  Since their debut Black Stone Cherry has released a string of classic radio friendly CD's.  Even for someone like me who does not like modern Hard Rock has found a fondness for the band.  It also does not hurt that the band is located just about two hours from the Blast Magazine offices.  With the band's fourth release 'Magic Mountain' the band continues down the same road they've been on since the beginning.  The songs on 'Magic Mountain' are not as radio friendly as you are used to hearing from the band.  However that does not mean the songs are bad.  In fact, it is just the opposite.  I did not think the songs were bad. The songs on 'Magic Mountain' are just not as good as some of their earlier stuff.  With that being said, I still feel the CD is worth buying especially if you're a fan of the band.