Black Stone Cherry - Black To Blues Vol. 2


Key Facts

Country: 🇺🇸
Genre: Southern Rock/Blues
Release Date: 1st November 2019
Record Label(s): Mascot Label

Band Members

Chris Robertson – lead vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
Ben Wells – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals
Jon Lawhon – bass guitar, backing vocals
John Fred Young – drums, percussion, piano, backing vocals

Additional Personnel

Yates McKendree - Keys, B3
Jeff "Bongo" Boggs - Percussion

Black Stone Cherry - All Your Love (I Miss Loving) 



Review
Rating (out of 5 🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
Favourite Track(s): All Your Love (I Miss Loving), Me & The Devil Blues, Death Letter Blues

Black Stone Cherry's second volume of blues covers that pay tribute to the genre's legends, such as; Otis Rush, Son House, Elmore James, Willie Dixon, Esrael Tolbert and the immortal Robert L. Johnson. It's not often band's do a whole EP of covers, let a lone covers that show the fans a true insight into their musical influences. Yet again, Black Stone Cherry show us why they are ahead of the rest turning these old school blues classics into contemporary and modern blues classics with ample amount of BSC flair and style. In this second edition of the Black To Blues era the band have focused on that rich, deep south blues history is deeply embed in these contemporary and upbeat covers. These EPs are perfect for anyone trying to get into blues and must haves for the budding blues fan in my opinion.

As I made clear in my review for Me & The Devil Blues, BSC know how to do a blues cover and do it exceptionally well. This whole EP is funky, soulful, grooving and surprisingly heavy in certain sections. Just like the first Black To Blues EP in 2017, BSC have given all the songs a modern and contempt update without taking anything away from the originals, which I think is an art form as so many covers you hear these days are pretty much exactly the same just heavier or acoustic, nothing really unique about them, just another cover and all that. That isn't the case with any song on this EP and that's what makes it special, they've done it the BSC way. Having gone back and listened to the originals next to these covers it's amazing how well the band have adapted the songs into their own style yet still keeping that blues grit and funk from the original songs. One thing that separates Vol. 2 from Vol. 1 is the more wide use of the keys, after seeing the lads perform live with Yates McKendree at Caerphilly Castle in July, it adds this little bit extra to their sound that gives the whole EP and even bluesy-ier vibe than Vol. 1 in my opinion. It also adds this little bit more groove and melody in the quieter guitar sections which gives it some more unique texture. I think my favourite part is the intro to Me & The Devil Blues, I don't know which member's child that is but it's one of those fun intros that you automatically love. I guess if I read further into it, it shows that BSC is a family band, there is love and support from all angles which you can hear in the band's music no matter which release you listen to it's always there. The musical arrangement of the songs have been key to the success of these covers, whilst they've remained true to the originals to a certain extent, like I mentioned before, the way the updated parts have been arranged make it feel like a proper old school blues EP but with that modern twist. One thing I'll never get tired of is the absolute sass and soul in Chris's voice, in Black To Blues Vol. 1 & 2 he's sounded so confident and passionate it really makes the songs funky and fun. With little talking bits to the band in the recordings, makes you feel like this is a band that is fully in sync and all singing of the same song sheet. That also gives it this live blues club feeling, if I heard them play these covers in The Old Duke in Bristol, they would not be out of place at all. Overall this is another funky and unique take on the blues, bigger and better yet respectful to the originals. If you're looking for an accessible route into the blues, chuck this EP in your ears!

First things first, this EP has a real warmth and grittiness to it. It feels and sounds old school yet professional and modern. I don't know how this has been achieved but when the mix makes it sound like a BSC record and not just the music, you know you're in for something special. Not many bands nail their signature sound this well, and this is a covers EP! The guitar tones are heavy but also have this really inviting warmth that I absolutely love when it gets fuzzy. Definitely nailed that heavy, funky blues style in the guitar tones, which is what gives these songs the feel of being brand new. The rhythm section is as solid as always, the legend of the low notes Jon Lawhon holds up the grooves with divesting efficiency, one thing I've really loved about the bass tones in most of BSC's releases is the fact that they sound distorted but also really full at the same time, the case is no different here. While everyone's favourite percussion animal John Fred Young lays down and infectious beat with drums that could floor a bull (the PBR Anthem Be Cowboy was epic). A solid low end kick with lots of snap in the snare and cymbals cutting through like a hot knife through butter. The keys and organ are also really pronounced in the mixes, which is refreshing as they often get shoved into a corner and forgotten about in most rock mixes I hear these days. Overall, this is a solid mix and it really helps bring the songs to life.

If you fancy sinking your teeth into some blues, get this EP on repeat! Another fantastic effort from BSC and I cannot get enough of it!

Black Stone Cherry - Black To Blues Vol. 2

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