Kentucky rockers BLACK STONE CHERRY return with another riotous, rip-roaring tribute to their blues heroes on "Black To Blues Volume 2", which will be released on October 18 via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group. To celebrate, the band also released a video, directed by Mike Rodway, for the track "Me And The Devil Blues".
BLACK STONE CHERRY states: "We chose this song because we have such an appreciation for Robert Johnson and his music. It was so simple, direct, and eerie in a way that just resonates with the listener. Since Robert's music was guitar and vocal, we decided to totally write new music and lay his words on top of it. All of the music was written literally on the spot while recording in the studio! We are very proud of how this track came out!"
The first installment of the series, "Black To Blues", was released in October 2017 and crashed straight into No. 1 in the Billboard Blues chart and reached the top 30 U.K. album chart with a wave of praise from both the press and fans.
Chris Robertson said: "We could have never dreamed of the reaction we got from 'Black To Blues'. It was amazing to have such a positive reaction to our take on some of our biggest influences in music. Now we are back for round two and we have added our great friend Yates Mckendree on organ/keys and he also makes an appearance on guitar! We kept a couple artists in the lineup from last time and introduced a few others into the mix as well! We can't wait for everyone to hear and feel how much fun we had recording this project!"
Since the last blues EP, BLACK STONE CHERRY released its latest studio album "Family Tree" (2018), which reached the Top 10 U.K. album chart (their third in a row) and Billboard Top 10 Hard Rock albums. The band spent the time following that touring Europe extensively, including a 2018 U.K. arena tour with MONSTER TRUCK, a main-stage sub-headline performance at Download festival — under GUNS N' ROSES — plus performances at Graspop Metal Meeting, Rock Am Ring and standout sets this summer at Wacken Open Air, a sold-out Caerphilly Castle (Wales) and an explosive headline slot at Ramblin' Man Fair. They have also criss-crossed their way around the U.S., including shows with GOV'T MULE, TYLER BRYANT & THE SHAKEDOWN, THREE DOORS DOWN and LYNYRD SKYNYRD. In amongst all of this, they still found time to record a hip-shaking new record and once again produced by the band themselves, they recorded it at Monocle Studios in Sulphur Well, Kentucky. The EP kicks off with Robertson introducing McKendree on the organ as they launch into Freddie King's "Big Legged Woman". It's wild, raucous and has their own unmistakeable groove woven through the song as has their unrelenting take on Howlin' Wolf's "Down In The Bottom" — both legends covered on the previous record.
Talking about King and Wolf, guitarist Ben Wells says: "Those are some of our absolute favorites. We always identify with those guys ‘cause they had grooves and riffs like we would put in our tunes. So we are naturally drawn to that."
This is where the link between the blues and BLACK STONE CHERRY weaves in so perfectly; the groove and heart of those early songs embody the essence and beginnings of Kentucky's favorite rockers. "Muddy Waters, Freddie King, Howlin' Wolf, and the like," Wells explains. "We used to listen to that constantly growing up, and still do. It's what we grew up playing and learning together. It's the DNA of what our band is. It's not just us covering songs. It's about doing our own version of each song."
Fans that have seen the band grow over their ascent to arenas will have often seen their love for the blues with songs regularly making into the live set. This time around they bring in Robert Johnson's howling "Me And The Devil Blues", the sultry slow-burning "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)", originally performed by Mississippi legend Otis Rush, and Elmore James classic "Early One Morning", one of the wildest standout songs from the one the links between traditional Delta and Chicago blues.
The album closes with their take on "Death Letter Blues" by Son House, which longtime fans will be familiar with from the band's live set and also featured on 2014 live album "Thank You: Livin' Live Birmingham".
Talking about the reaction of the fans, Wells enthuses: "It's incredible!! The coolest part is hearing young fans say they never listened to these artists until we made them aware of them. That's amazing for us!"
BLACK STONE CHERRY will be going back to Europe to support Alice Cooper in September, as well as playing shows in the U.S. with LYNYRD SKYNYRD and THE LACS before heading over to Australia with HALESTORM.
"Black To Blues Volume 2" track listing:
01. Big Legged Woman
02. Me And The Devil Blues
03. All Your Love (I Miss Loving)
04. Down In The Bottom
05. Early One Morning
06. Death Letter Blues