Kentucky rockers BLACK STONE CHERRY have released another track from their upcoming blues covers EP, “Black To Blues”, due out on September 29 via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group. Their version of Albert King‘s “Born Under A Bad Sign” is available to stream using the SoundCloud widget below.
Speaking about why the band decided to pick this track for the EP, BLACK STONE CHERRY bassist Jon Lawhon said: “We wanted to do that song because CREAM did that song, but we were looking for songs that were ‘obscure,’ but not so obscure that people hadn’t maybe heard them before and have some familiarity with it. It was tough to pick some stuff; I’ll be honest with you. And, too, we had to think about the arrangement — how could we alter the riff a bit and make it ours. So it was a deep process.”
Before releasing five critically acclaimed albums, playing 12,000-capacity arena shows, topping U.K. charts and sharing the stage with bands like DEF LEPPARD, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, BAD COMPANY, ALTER BRIDGE and SHINEDOWN, the guys in the Kentucky-based active rock powerhouse were just teenagers finding their way jamming on the blues.
“Black To Blues” is a collection of blues classics and obscurities reimagined with the meaty moxie of classic BLACK STONE CHERRY.
“I know it’s crazy for four rock ‘n’ roll dudes to make a blues EP, but it’s us sharing with everyone the music that’s been our DNA from day one,” says BLACK STONE CHERRY vocalist and guitarist Chris Robertson. “Blues is the music we listen to when we sit around on the bus with a bottle of bourbon.”
“A defining moment for me was realizing all the rock ‘n’ roll that I loved came from the blues,” Chris adds.
As a lead vocalist, Chris honed his burly pipes studying the power of the Texas Tornado himself, Freddie King, whom they cover on “Black To Blues” and, throughout their career, the group has always sprinkled in a few blues evergreens in their live set. “The blues is such honest music. When you hear it, it’s, like, ‘I’m down on my luck, and, damn, that guy gets just how I feel.'” Chris shares. “I hope by sharing this music we have the beautiful opportunity to expose a new generation to the blues.”
“Black To Blues” pays homage to the fertile 1960s era of electric blues where the masters pushed boundaries with experimentation and volume. The EP includes covers by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Freddie King and Albert King. The album was recorded in a burst of fevered inspiration this past spring at David Barrick‘s Barrick Recording, the same studio where the band recorded their recent album, “Kentucky”. It was produced by the band, which tracked the music in two days and favored a raw, in-the-moment production aesthetic to capture the inspired sessions. Chris adds: “Our approach was to do these songs as we’ve written them, with attitude and heavy guitar.”
“Black To Blues” opens with the Howlin’ Wolf classic “Built For Comfort”. Here, they harnesses the song’s dark energy with foot-stomping burly riffage, impassioned whiskey and honey vocals, and a peaks and valleys arrangement that features virtuosic bursts of bluesy guitar brilliance, smoky quiet passages, and mountains crashing down climaxes. Throughout the EP, the imaginative arrangements, soulful vocals, and subtle band interplay evoke the halcyon days of heavy blues acts such as FREE and Peter Green‘s FLEETWOOD MAC. On “Champagne & Reefer” they mesmerize with deft slide guitar playing and powerful contrasting haunting and hefty dynamics. Other standouts include a raucous version of Muddy Waters‘s “I Want To Be Loved”, complete with jaw-dropping blues-rock guitar solos, and a clever rendition of Freddie King‘s “Palace Of King”, there they “moved one note to make it more dark,” Chris reveals.
The blues is always a sage teacher, and making the “Black To Blues” EP was a transformative experience for BLACK STONE CHERRY. Chris says: “It was humbling and freeing at the same time. It reignited our passion for this music, and it will definitely have an effect on our next album.”
“Black To Blues” track listing:
01. Built For Comfort
02. Champagne & Reefer
03. Palace Of The King
04. Hoochie Coochie Man
05. Born Under A Bad Sign
06. I Want To Be Loved