Nonpoint Debuts ‘Wheel Against Will’ Video

Courtesy: Spinefarm Records

Nonpoint released its latest music video this week.

The band debuted the video for its latest single ‘Wheel Against Will‘ on Wednesday. The song is the fourth single to be released from the band’s new album X since the album’s release on Aug. 24 via Spinefarm Records.

The band debuted the album’s first two singles, ‘Chaos & Earthquakes‘ and ‘Dodge Your Destiny‘ in June. The album’s third single ‘Fix This‘ debuted only weeks later in July via Loudwire, while the official video for ‘Chaos & Earthquakes’ followed in August.

The new ‘Wheel Against Will’ video places the up-tempo opus and its seeming sociopolitical commentary against a visualization of the band at work in the studio.  Mixed into the video is footage of front man Elias Soriano up close and personal reciting the song’s lyrics while friends recite the song’s chorus and drummer Robb Rivera practices his part in what looks like a hotel room.

Eagle-eyed audiences will note Rivera sporting a Machine Head pullover in some of the scenes as a bonus of sorts.  It is not known if these scenes were shot before or after Machine Head announced its breakup over the summer.

Nonpoint is currently wrapping its tour with P.O.D., which is touring in support of its own new album, Circles.  The remaining live dates on the bands’ tour are noted below.

NONPOINT ON TOUR:
12/11: Lynchburg, VA @ Phase 2
12/12: Greensboro, NC @ Cone Denim
12/14: Destin, FL @ Radio Show Club LA

More information on Nonpoint’s new video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.nonpoint.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nonpointofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/nonpoint

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

P.O.D. Off To A Strong Start At Its New Label With Its Latest Album

Courtesy: Mascot Records

Veteran rock band Payable on Death (P.O.D.) returns with its 10th full-length studio recording Circles next month.  The 11-song offering is the band’s first for its new label home, Mascot Records, and is overall, another strong effort from the San Diego, California-based band.  That is evidenced through its musical and lyrical content, which offers plenty for the band’s more seasoned fans and its new fans alike to appreciate.  The album’s lead single and album opener ‘Rockin’ With The Best’ is just one of the compositions that supports that statement, and will be discussed shortly.  ‘Fly Away,’ which serves as the record’s midpoint, is another clear example of what makes Circles another interesting offering from P.O.D.  It will be discussed a little bit later.  ‘Soundboy Killa’ is one more example of what makes this record interesting.  It will also be discussed later.  When this trio of songs is considered along with the deeply contemplative ‘Dreaming,’ the equally powerful ‘Panic Attack’ and the band’s tribute to its home town, ‘Always Southern California’ and the rest of the album’s featured works, the record in whole proves to be another welcome offering from P.O.D. and a strong start for the band on its new label home.

P.O.D.’s forthcoming album Circles is another welcome effort from the veteran rap/rock band, and a strong start for the band at its new label home, Mascot Records.  It offers plenty for the band’s most seasoned fans and its newer audiences alike to appreciate both musically and lyrically.  This is proven in part through the record’s opener and lead single, ‘Rockin’ With The Best.’  In regards to its musical content, the song is classic P.O.D. that takes listeners back to the band’s 1999 major label debut The Fundamental Elements of Southtown.  That is especially evident in the guitar riff and drums exhibited in the song’s chorus.  When they couple with front man Sonny Sandoval’s vocal delivery, the combination of those elements, and the song’s bass line, the whole creates that familiar, infectious sound.  The more contemplative sound of the verses makes Sandovals confident statements all the more powerful.  When it couples with that harder-edged sound in the chorus, the end result is a composition that is certain to become a fan favorite if it has not already done so.

The juxtaposition of the song’s contemplative verses and its more energetic chorus partners well with the song’s lyrical content, which comes across as its own sort of battle rap, courtesy of Sandoval.  Sandoval writes in the lead verse, “Let us begin/What, where, why or when/I take offense to pussycats hangin’ in the lion’s den/All trends, 2nd hand versions/A knock off imitation, my ace in the wind/I remember when/When this music meant something/And these rappers weren’t frontin’, but now they’re all bluffing/Not about nothing/No resume and no dues/Nobody heard KRS/He was speaking to you/”In about 4 seconds, a teacher will begin to speak”/So take it from me/All I need is a bass line/Feedback from a guitar and I’ll dead ‘em all with one rhyme.”  Sandoval leaves little to guess here. He is addressing the current crop of young rappers who he says have done nothing to get to where they are.  He continues to make his case in the song’s second verse, explaining to listeners, “Everybody and they mommy know who cold rocks the party” along with plenty more verbage.  The whole of the verses, and of course the chorus, in which he and his band mates state, “Now you’re rockin’ with the best,” makes the song a strong start for this record.  It shows a battle rap doesn’t have to drop names and make personal attacks in order to make a confident statement.  When this is considered along with the song’s equally well thought out musical arrangement, the whole of the song proves a clear example of what makes Circles another positive effort from P.O.D.  It is of course just one of the songs that serves this purpose.  The far more contemplative ‘Fly Away’ is another example of Circles’ positive presentation.

‘Fly Away’ is another key addition to Circles because it is powerful through a far more reserved musical and lyrical approach.  Musically speaking, the song will appeal to fans of 311, Sublime, Sugar Ray and other similar acts through its reggae-rock hybrid sound.  What is really interesting here is that the arrangement alone is infectious.  There is no denying this.  When it is coupled with the song’s deeply moving lyrical theme, that infectious sound creates a whole new identity for the arrangement; an identity that will easily tug at listeners’ heart strings.  The lyrical theme is one of someone going through a difficult situation and just wants to get to a better place.  Sandoval writes here from that person’s perspective, “So who are you to say what life is like/That life is good/I bet whoever said it never walked up in my hood/So, I wish you would/And maybe you should/You should discover what is missing/Since you misunderstood/Time and time again/They keep messing with my head/So I cannot lie/I-man go mess up now and then/Don’t’ know the why yet, still I try to find my way/I asked the preacher man to show me how to pray/And so I say/If I could fly away, I would fly away/I will fly away, oh glory!”  He goes on in the song’s second verse to note that as bad as things get, “We’re all the same/Whether it’s love, whether it’s pain/Even the preacher man forgets how to pray some days.”  In other words, we all lose sight of the bigger picture in life, and we have to remind ourselves that things could be worse.  That gentle reminder, coupled with the equally gentle musical arrangement here makes this song so powerful in its own unique way.  In turn, the whole of those elements makes the song one of the record’s most important entries, though not the last of its most important elements.  ‘Soundboy Killa’ is another important addition to the album.

‘Soundboy Killa’ stands out in part because of its musical arrangement, just as with the other songs noted here.  Sandoval’s vocal delivery, joined with the work of his band mates – guitarist Marcos Curiel, bassist Traa Daniels and drummer Wuv – creates a sound that will appeal to fans of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and other similar acts.  Lyrically, this song is somewhat similar to ‘Rockin’ With The Best.’  That is evidenced as Sandoval raps over his band mates’ lines, “Same mic/Same Stage/I&I was born to rage/And there might be another dead boy pwon page!/These copy cats come to steal me cup/Dem ain’t real enough/Another big tune, wheel it up!/Sonny Dread number 1 Champion/Cuz you know I breaks it down in a style & fashion/So keep it moshin’ ‘cause I’m comin’ for ya neck/And every mon hit the deck when you hear me sound check.”  From here, Sandoval barely lets up if it all, reminding critics and others that the song’s subject is not letting up.  The message is one of pure confidence, reminding listeners that the subject’s work is basically audio ammunition that he will keep firing, no matter what.  It’s a strong statement that is strengthened even more by the song’s infectious musical arrangement.  When the two are coupled, they make the song one more work that is certain to be a fan favorite, and one more example of what makes Circles in whole another welcome offering from P.O.D.  What’s  more the song, when considered with the other works discussed here and the rest of the album, the whole proves the record to be a strong start for the band at its new label home.

P.O.D’s latest full-length album Circles, due out Nov. 16 via Mascot Records, is a strong new start for the band at its new label home and another welcome offering from the veteran rap rock outfit.  That is evidenced through the record’s musical arrangements and its lyrical themes, as has been discussed through the songs discussed in this review.  When they are considered along with the likes of  ‘Dreaming,’ ‘Panic Attack,’ ‘Always Southern California’ and the rest of the record’s entries, the album in whole is an offering that the band’s more seasoned listeners will appreciate just as much as newer audiences.  The band will launch a tour in support of Circles beginning Nov. 3 at the Halloween Rock Fest 2018 in San Juan Puerto Rico.  More information on that tour, the band’s album and more is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.payableondeath.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/POD

Twitter http://twitter.com/POD

 

 

 

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Black Stone Cherry Premieres ‘Southern Fried Friday Night’ Lyric Video

Courtesy: Mascot Records

Black Stone Cherry is giving audiences another taste of its brand new album, Family Tree.

The band debuted the lyric video this week for its latest single, ‘Southern Fried Friday Night.’  It lays the song’s audio against a backdrop of the song’s lyrics, which are in turn joined with plenty of fire and brimstone, but in a good way.

The song itself is one of Family Tree‘s most stand out entries, with its pure southern rock style arrangement.  Lyrically speaking, it is a celebration of all things southern, including the joys of…well…a southern fried Friday night from going out riding in a jacked up pickup truck to hanging out with other southerners and more.

‘Southern Fried Friday Night’ is just the latest of Family Tree‘s singles.  Prior to its release, the band also released ‘Bad Habit‘ and its video, which is streaming now here.  Audiences can hear both of these songs and plenty of others on the band’s current tour.  The band will be in Houston, Texas Friday night before heading to Dallas, Texas Saturday night.  From there, the band is scheduled to make stops in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Sauget, Illinois and lots more cities nationwide.

The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

TOUR DATES:
Wed, May 2 Von Braun – Huntsville, AL
Thu, May 3 Saenger Theater Mobile – Mobile, AL 
Fri, May 4 Scout Bar – Houston, TX
Sat, May 5 Trees – Dallas, TX
Mon, May 7 Templelive – Fort Smith, AR
Tue, May 8 Madrid Theatre – Kansas City, MO
Thu, May 10 Pop’s Nightclub – Sauget, IL
Fri, May 11 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
Sat, May 12 Somerset Amphitheater – Somerset, WI
Mon, May 14 The Apollo Theatre – Belvidere, IL
Wed, May 16 Ground Zero – Traverse City, IL
Thu, May 17 The Machine Shop – Flint, MI
Fri, May 18 Manchester Music Hall – Lexington, KY
Fri, May 25 Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY
Sat, May 26 The Shed – Maryville, TN
Sun, May 27 Alliant Energy Center – Madison, WI
Sat, Jul 21 Jamboree in the Hills – Morristown, OH
Fri, Jul 27 Black Silo Winery – Trenton, MO

More information on Black Stone Cherry’s new single, its tour schedule and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.blackstonecherry.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackstonecherry

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlkStoneCherry

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Strong Roots, Growth Make ‘Family Tree’ Another Successful Album From Black Stone Cherry

Courtesy: Mascot Records

The wait is officially over.  Black Stone Cherry’s new album, Family Tree is finally here, and it is another interesting offering from the Edmonton, Kentucky-based band, both musically and lyrically.  That is because on this, the band’s sixth full-length studio recording, the veteran Edmonton, KY-based band has returned to the blues rock sound that made it a household name throughout the better part of its life.  That should make those left uncomfortable by the band’s fifth album Kentucky (its Mascot Records debut) happy.  Of course that is not to discount Kentucky, as it was its own impressive effort especially being a risk by the band.  As a matter of fact, it was a nice change of pace from the band, and hopefully not the only chance that the band will ever take.  Getting back on the topic at hand, this album, even with its familiar musical and lyrical themes, takes its own risks that pay off in their own right.  ‘Carry Me On Down The Road’ is one of those risks.  It will be discussed shortly.  ‘My Last Breath,’ another chance taken by the band this time out that pays off in its own right.  It will be discussed later.  It’s not the last of the risks taken this time out.  ‘James Brown,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another risk that pays off.  Between these songs and the album’s other more familiar works, the album in whole proves to have plenty for audiences to appreciate.  Keeping that in mind, Family Tree proves to be another solid, enjoyable effort from Black Stone Cherry.

Black Stone Cherry’s sixth full-length studio recording (its second album and third overall recording for Mascot Records) is another solid, enjoyable offering for the veteran southern rock outfit.  That is because for all of the familiarity that the album offers audiences, it also doesn’t fail to take its own risks once again, as is evidenced early on in ‘Carry Me On Down The Road.’  This song, lyrically, is its own familiar territory for audiences across the board.  It’s one of those songs about a rambler; someone who spends so much of his/her life on the road.  The thing with those songs is that they are so often overly sappy pieces thanks to their musical arrangements.  Black Stone Cherry didn’t go that route here.  Instead, the band opted for a more positive, light-hearted approach a la The Allman Brothers Band’s ‘Ramblin’ Man,’ only a little heavier.  That positive musical approach makes the song’s lyrical theme, which is itself quite similar to that song and so many others, that much more enjoyable.  That familiarity comes as front man Chris Robertson sings, “I was born for leaving/It’s just what I do/And my feet don’t sleep/’Cause they stay on the move/There’s no deceivin’/Ain’t no master plan/I’m a keep, keep keeping on/I’m a travelin’ man/Hold on/I got wheels that can’t be stopped/I gotta ramble, ramble on/Roll on/Peaceful feelin’ in my soul/Carry me on down that road.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Said listen people/I’ve got something to say/I’ve been around the world/It took 42 days/And I met 10,000/And I ran 10,000 miles/To be with ya’ll this evening…oh lord/I got wheels that can’t be stopped/I gotta ramble, ramble on/Oh lord, peaceful feelin’ in my soul/Carry me on down that road.”  Again, there is a lot of similarity here both lyrically and musically between this song and the noted Allman Brothers Band song.  The fact that this song uses the prior work as inspiration rather than blatantly ripping it off makes it plenty enjoyable.  That it opts for that more light-hearted approach instead of the sappier approach that it easily could have taken adds even more to its enjoyment.  Keeping all of this in mind, this upbeat blues rock opus about a traveling man, a ramblin’ man, proves to be its own enjoyable entry this time out.  It’s a risk because the band opted to go happy instead of sappy, and one that paid off because of that.  It’s just one of the risks that paid off in this album.  ‘My Last Breath’ is another risk that paid off for the band this time out.

‘My Last Breath’ comes immediately after ‘Carry Me On Down The Road’ in the album’s sequence.  Musically speaking, its arrangement is another ballad, which in itself is nothing new for Black Stone Cherry.  The band has included at least one ballad in each of its past five records.  What makes it stand out here is that, as with ‘Carry Me On Down The Road,’ is that while it does boast a certain emotional depth (thanks to its musical arrangement), that depth isn’t as over the top as in the band’s previous ballads.  It’s another nice change of pace even with its familiarity.  This song’s arrangement is centered on a gentle, flowing organ line that when coupled with Robertson’s vocal delivery conjures thoughts of Ben Harper (believe it or not).  That influence sticks throughout the course of the song.  The addition of the choral element to the song gives it a little gospel feel that only strengthens the song that much more.  Between those elements and the slight bluesy Derek Trucks Band influence that is also audible here, the song’s musical arrangement here makes this ballad a risk from the band that paid off in its own right.  Considering that the song pays homage to the subject’s loved ones – from a wife/gf to family in general — that controlled emotion here makes the risk taken all the more of a payoff.  It’s just one more of the risks that paid off here.  The funky blues rock arrangement of ‘James Brown’ is another risk that paid off.

The arrangement at the center of ‘James Brown’ is, as noted, a rock arrangement, but also boasts a certain funk influence in its whole, too.  It goes without saying that it’s instantly infectious, and in this critic’s ears, deserves to be one of this album’s singles.  Its lyrical content rests atop that musical content, proving even more the song’s strength.  Robertson sings in the song’s lead verse, “Good time to write a rhyme to reach ya/It’s a new procedure/Need a soul to preach to/give me a soul to preach to/Don’t want but you know I need it/’Cause I only feed instead of tryin’ to beat it/I end up defeated/Well lemme talk at ya/Hot damn, you know just like magic/So hip that it’s tragic/Heartbreaker/Got me a-ramblin’/Like I’ve been time travelin’/You got me just like James Brown.”  From here, he goes on to note that the woman being addressed here is “the 8th wonder” and he’s “the hunter”, basically excited over this woman.  It’s an interesting song that is heightened even more through that playful, funky arrangement.  When the two elements are joined together, they make this composition a work that was well worth the risk as they definitely stand out as another sign of the band’s growth.  Keeping that in mind, it’s just one more way in which Family Tree shows its strength and appeal, but hardly the last.  ‘Southern Fried Saturday Night’ stands easily on its own merits with its southern rock arrangement and fun-filled lyrical content paying homage to all things southern.  In all honesty, this song is just as much a fit on mainstream rock radio as on today’s modern country playlists.  On another level, the Joe Satriani-esque break included in the arrangement in ‘Bad Habit’ adds to its interest, as it’s another interesting change of pace that shows even more the band’s growth.  There’s even a real quick Peter Gunn style riff included about two-minutes into ‘Burnin’ along with a subtle 80s hair rock style riff that adds to its interest.  These elements, and so many more throughout the record go a long way, collectively, toward showing why Family Tree is another successful entry from Black Stone Cherry.  All things considered, they make Family Tree a record that will impress the band’s long-time fans just as much as its new audiences and deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

It goes without saying after hearing Family Tree all the way through that it deserves a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.  That is proven in the southern rock roots and new growth exhibited throughout the record’s 13-song, 52-minute run time.  That growth is exhibited just as much through ‘Carry Me On Down The Road,’ ‘My Last Breath’ and ‘James Brown’ as through ‘Bad Habit’ and ‘Burnin.’’  The band’s southern rock roots are clearly exhibited throughout the rest of the record.  The combination of that growth and connection to the past proves Family Tree to be another successful entry from start to finish, and in turn a record that will appeal to audiences across the board.  Family Tree is available now in stores and online.  More information on Family Tree is available online now along with all of Black Stone Cherry’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.blackstonecherry.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackstonecherry

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlkStoneCherry

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Black To Blues’ Is A Rocking Tribute To The Roots Of The Blues

Courtesy: Mascot Records

The wait for Black Stone Cherry’s new album Family Tree is now at only one day.  The much-anticipated 13-song album will be the band’s second full-length studio recording for Mascot Records and its third overall recording for the label.  The second of the band’s recordings came last year in the form of the six-song blues covers EP Black To Blues.  It is the focus of today’s review, as anticipation builds for Family Tree.  Those who are familiar with Black Stone Cherry’s body of work know that this veteran Kentucky-based rock band’s music is very deeply rooted in the blues.  So it comes as no surprise that the band released this collection.  The only real surprise is that it is only a six-song record instead of a full-length EP.  The record’s song choices (and their associated artists) are, collectively speaking, one of its key high points.  They will be discussed shortly.  The songs’ arrangements are important to the EP’s whole, too.  The historical significance of the EP rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the EP’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Black To Blues another welcome offering from Black Stone Cherry, and one that will hopefully one day be followed by a more pure blues cover from the band

Black Stone Cherry’s 2017 EP Black To Blues is an interesting new compilation of songs from the veteran Kentucky-based blues rock band.  That is not because it is a collection of blues covers, but in part because of the songs selected for the 6-song EP.  The songs are classics crafted by some of the greatest names in blues history – Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Albert King, and the creative team of Don Nix, Donald Dunn and Leon Russell.

‘Built For Comfort,’ originally composed by blues legend Willie Dixon, is considered by critics and audiences alike to be one of Dixon’s best compositions.  Along with Muddy Waters (a.k.a. McKinley Morganfield), Dixon is one of two of the key figures in the formation of the Chicago blues.

Speaking of Muddy Waters, his song ‘Champagne and Reefer’ fittingly follows Dixon’s Built For Comfort.’  What many might not know of Waters’ works is that a large number were in fact written and composed by Dixon.  This song however, was a rarity because it was written and composed entirely by Waters.  Just as interesting to note of the original is it was included in what would go on to become Waters’ final album before his death in 1983, King Bee.  Considering this, it’s fitting that such a strong composition would be included in Waters’ final musical statement.

‘Born Under A Bad Sign,’ another of the compilation’s key entries, is its own well-known work.  Inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame in 1983, the song has since gone on to be considered by most to be King’s signature composition.  No doubt that is thanks in part to William Bell’s lyrics, which have proven to have just as much widespread appeal as its musical arrangement which has reached rock and r&b fans just as much as blues fans.  It’s just one more example of why the songs included in this recording are so critical to the EP’s overall presentation.  ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ and ‘I Want To Be Loved,’ two more of Dixon’s hits prove to be just as entertaining here as the songs more directly noted.  Much the same can be said of ‘Palace of the King,’ originally composed by the writing team of Don Nix, Donald Dunn and Leon Russell.  That song was made famous by Freddie King, who is considered one of the “Three Kings” of the Blues.  When those songs are considered and researched along with the songs more fully discussed here, it becomes clear why the songs featured in this record are so critical to its presentation.  As important as they are, they are not, collectively speaking, the EP’s only key element.  The songs’ arrangements are just as important to discuss as the songs and their artists.

It goes without saying here that the band has given these blues standards quite the new identity with its arrangements.  Case in point is the hard rock/blues arrangement of Willie Dixon’s ‘Built For Comfort.’  Dixon’s original composition is an upbeat, easily danceable work.  BSC’s rendition is, by comparison far more familiar to its fans, stylistically than it might be to fans of Dixon’s original.  That’s not to say that BSC’s take is a bad take.  It just gives the song a new identity for a new generation; an identity that is still just as appealing in its own right as Dixon’s original.  Much the same can be said of BSC’s take on Muddy Waters’ ‘Champagne and Reefer.’  The band’s take of this blues standard is a complete re-imagining of Waters’ original, yet proves in its heavy, blues-soaked rock sound, to still be entertaining in its own right.  The band’s re-working of ‘Palace of the King’ changes things up here by actually largely staying true to its source material while still giving the song a solid update.  ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ proves to be one of the record’s most standout additions thanks to the band sticking to the original song’s 12-bar blues format.  One could even go so far as to argue that this take is even better than the original thanks to the hard rock element added to that link back to Willie Dixon’s original.  That standout offering is followed by another equally solid arrangement in the band’s take of ‘Born Under A Bad Sign,’ which stays perhaps closest to its source material of any of this record’s songs.  To say that it’s infectious would be an understatement with its blues rock arrangement; an arrangement which even way back when was credited with making the Albert King’s original such a widespread hit.  The band impresses one more time in the EP’s closer with its take of Wilie Dixon’s ‘I Want To Be Loved,’ which was originally made famous by his longtime friend Muddy Waters.  It is a little amped up in comparison to that original, but again, it largely stays true to the source material, right down to the horns.  The result of that devotion to the original is a work that is not only a solid closer for this record, but another song sure to be a hit among audiences of all ages.  It should be clear by now why the arrangements of the songs in this record are so pivotal to its presentation.  Some stay true to their source material while others completely re-imagine the songs.  Even in those re-imaginings, the songs still prove to be solid blues rock pieces that stay true to BSC’s own blues rock style.  Keeping that in mind, all of the arrangements presented here prove enjoyable in one way or another throughout, thus making the record in whole that much more enjoyable.  Of course this still is not the last of the EP’s most important elements.  Its historical value is also of note.

Black to Blues’ historical value is so important to discuss in examining this EP because of the doors that the EP can open through its songs and their arrangements.  One could easily argue that there’s no importance to this record, but the reality is that without this record, younger audiences who might otherwise pay no attention at all to the history and importance of blues itself, get a good start.  That door is opened through discussions on the songs featured here, their source material and their artists.  Being that this record is only a six-song record, it greatly limits the artists and songs, but maybe in generating new interest through those songs, those same younger listeners will hopefully be moved to discover even more of the many artists and songs that make the blues’ history so rich.  Keeping this in mind, the historical value of Black To Blues cannot be ignored in considering the EP’s overall presentation.  It is just as critical as the EPs songs (and artists) and the songs’ arrangements.  That being the case, the whole of the noted elements makes Black To Blues another solid effort from Black Stone Cherry; a recording that leaves listeners hoping one day the band will release a pure blues covers record instead of a collection of amped up covers.  Until or unless that happens, the works presented here will have to suffice.  That’s not an entirely bad thing, either.  Black to Blues is available now in stores and online.  More information on the EP is available online now along with all of Black Stone Cherry’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://ww.blackstonecherry.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackstonecherry

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlkStoneCherry

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Kentucky’ Is One Of BSC’s Best And Most Important Albums To Date

Courtesy: Mascot Records

The wait is almost over for Black Stone Cherry’s return.  The veteran Kentucky-based blues-rock based band returns this Friday with its sixth full-length studio recording, Family Tree.  Before that album hits stores, this critic is going to take a look back at some of the band’s most recent releases, beginning today with the band’s most recent album, 2016’s Kentucky.  Originally released April 1, 2016 via Mascot records, the album was the band’s debut for Mascot Records.  Its previous four albums up to that point had been released via Roadrunner Records.  It is also one of the band’s most important albums to date because of the growth that it displays throughout the course of its 13-song, 52-minute body.  That growth is evident in arrangements that audibly move away from the band’s familiar southern rock sound in favor of a heavier sound a la Alter Bridge and other similar bands as well as its lyrical themes.  This change is clear right from the album’s outset in ‘The Way Of The Future,’ which will be discussed shortly.  The band’s cover of Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ is another example of that growth.  It will be discussed later.  ‘Feelin’ Fuzzy,’ with its infectious hooks and choruses is yet another example of the growth presented in this record.  Of course, for all of the growth shown throughout the album, there are still some hints of the band’s prior works here such as in the gentle album closer ‘The Rambler,’ ‘Long Ride’ and ‘Cheaper To Drink Alone.’  Those songs will appeal to the band’s more seasoned audiences while the newer (at the time) sound presented throughout will reach an even wider swath of listeners.  Between all of those works and those not noted here, the whole of Kentucky proves to be a record that is not only the band’s most important album to date (at that point), but one of its best albums to date.

Black Stone Cherry’s 2016 album Kentucky is one of the band’s most important and best albums to date.  That is because it proves to have been a creative turning point for the band.  In place of the familiar southern rock fare which audiences had come to know from the band up to that point are harder-edged composition more akin to the likes of Alter Bridge than Lynyrd Skynyrd.  The album’s lyrical themes are deeper, too.  The album’s opener, ‘The Way of the Future’ is one of the examples of those changes that made the album so impressive.  The song’s musical arrangement starts off with a heavy, grinding, almost Black Label Society style riff from guitarist Ben Wells that goes on to form the foundation of the arrangement.  John Fred Young’s solid time keeping in the mid-tempo rocker, coupled with Jon Lawhon’s bass line strengthens that foundation even more.  Front man Chris Robertson’s powerhouse vocal delivery of the song’s socially conscious lyrics puts the finishing touch to the song’s arrangement.  Speaking of those lyrics, they do their own part in making this song so strong.  Robertson sings in the song’s lead verse, “Wake up/Hope ya don’t get shot/Step out/Hope ya don’t get robbed/There’s children killin’ their selves/Who killed whom else for killing ourselves/Watch out/Devil’s gotta get rich/Better stop fallin’ for these tricks/We’re all killing ourselves/Who killed whom else for killing ourselves/It’s the way of the future/There’s no place to hide/You promise to listen/I’ll promise you life/though these perfect politicians/They’re smothered in grease/It’s the way of the future that don’t work for me/Take back control/Fight for your soul.”  This verse leaves little to no question as to its message.  It’s a commentary on the current state of the world.  Given, this is hardly the first time that a band or act of any genre has gone down that road, but even considering that, it’s still a strong statement thanks to the way in which it is worded.  Robertson doesn’t stop here with his scathing indictment, either.  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Hang on, let’s all get offended/Keep on poisoning the system/There’s just wrong and there’s right/No black and no white/No right in this fight/Throw away everything you’ve been told to believe/Break away from these chains/We’re supposed to be free/Yeah, free.”  Again, little to no doubt is left here.  This is the song’s subject addressing how far the world has fallen from where it once was, with everyone getting offended about everything and refusing to see the shades of grey in life.  It’s a harsh, yet true statement.  The power in the song’s musical arrangement couples with that strong, scathing indictment of society’s descent to make this song one that is certain to resonate with listeners.  Keeping this in mind, it makes sense why it was chosen to open the album.  It is a bold statement about the direction that the band took on this album, and only the first.  The band’s cover of Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ is an equally bold statement about the band’s direction this time out.

Black Stone Cherry’s cover of Edwin Starr’s 1970 hit single ‘War’ is another important addition to Kentucky because it shows just as much in its own way the new direction that the band took on this album.  It perfectly compliments the album’s opener because it, too is a social commentary as well as a protest.  Comparing this version to Starr’s original and even to the re-imagined take that Bone Thugs-N-Harmondy did with Henry Rollins, Flea and Tom Morello, BSC’s take is honestly the best take on the song to come along in quite a while.  That is because it largely stays true to the source material while also giving the song a nice, new update, musically speaking.  The addition of the saxophone and trumpet line to BSC’s arrangement is a nice new touch because of their subtlety.  Robertson’s vocal delivery is also just as strong as Starr’s was in the song’s original take almost five decades ago.  That’s saying a lot.  Add in the fact that the band didn’t try to add any new lyrics to the song in this take – unlike in the aforementioned 1998 super group take included in the Small Soldiers soundtrack – and the song becomes even stronger in its presentation.  The coupling of the song’s updated arrangement that still stays true to its source material and lyrical content that also stays true to the original makes this song one more of the album’s highest points.  It shows once more the band’s growth in this album, and in turn why this album is, two years later, still among Black Stone Cherry’s most important and best albums to date.  Even with all of this in mind, the band’s cover of ‘War’ is not the last of the album’s high points.  ‘Feelin’ Fuzzy’ is one more example of what makes Kentucky such a standout offering from Black Stone Cherry.

‘Feelin’ Fuzzy’ is an important addition to Kentucky in part because of its musical arrangement.  What’s interesting to note here is that a close listen to the arrangement reveals at least some hint of the band’s southern rock roots.  At the same time, the solid, hard rock leanings that are so much more prevalent throughout the album is just as obvious.  What audiences will appreciate here is the balance of the old and new.  It shows that the band didn’t want to alienate its established fan base, but also wanted to once again show the growth that is evidenced throughout the rest of the album’s run.  The band is to be commended for that thought and effort, as it clearly paid off in the song’s arrangement.  Looking at the song’s lyrical content, this song shows just as much growth here.  Robertson sings in the song’s lead verse, “Took a trip and might’ve slipped and fell into a hole/Might be magic/Might be tragic/The way this all unfolds/I’m feelin’ fuzzy/Spinning around/The trees keep laughing while they hit the ground/They know something we don’t/Feelin’ fuzzy/Spinning around.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “Took a sip and burned my lips/But love the way you taste/Catch the habit, gotta have it/If we’re gonna escape/Things you’re fearing disappearing/Never seen before/House of reasons fall to pieces/A new king is born.”  Even this critic is at a loss for interpretation here.  On one hand, one would assume this is perhaps a lyrical illustration of the song’s subject going through the effects of drugs and/or alcohol.  That is inferred as Robertson sings through the chorus, “I’m feelin’ fuzzy/Spinning around/The trees keep laughing while they hit the ground/They know something we don’t.”  The seeming Alice in Wonderland reference in the lead verse adds even more interest here.  Between that and the wording in the song’s second verse, it almost seems as the song’s subject is singing about life changing, and is doing so through deep metaphorical language.  Of course this could be a completely incorrect interpretation.  Either way, it is certain to generate plenty of discussion, if it hasn’t already done so since the album’s initial release.  Keeping this in mind, the whole of this song – joined with the whole of the other discussed songs and those not directly noted here – makes Kentucky a “rock” solid (yes, this critic went there) record from Black Stone Cherry and one of the band’s best and most important offerings to date.

Black Stone Cherry’s 2016 album Kentucky is one of the veteran band’s best and most important albums to date.  That is evidenced from start to end of the 13-song, 52-minute record’s body in the record’s hard rock-styled musical arrangements and content heavy lyrical themes.  From the heavy social commentary of ‘The Way of the Future’ and its equally heavy musical arrangement to the equally musically and lyrically heavy cover of ‘War’ that stays largely true to its source material to the extremely heavy and deep content in ‘Feelin’ Fuzzy,’ there is plenty of example of what makes this record stand out.  Add in the depth of ‘The Rambler,’ ‘Long Ride,’ ‘Cheaper To Drink Alone’ and the rest of the album’s offerings, and audiences get in whole here a record that stands tall among its current offerings.  It proves in whole through its overall musical and lyrical content to be – once more – one of Black Stone Cherry’s best and most important albums to date.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Kentucky is available online now along with all of Black Stone Cherry’s latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.blackstonecherry.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackstonecherry

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlkStoneCherry

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Black Stone Cherry Premieres’ Bad Habit’ Video

Courtesy: Mascot Records

Black Stone Cherry is giving audiences another taste of its new album, Family Tree.

The band on Monday, unveiled the video for its new single ‘Bad Habit.’  The song is the album’s second single.  The video takes audiences back in time to 1988 and a competition of three very different bands.

What happens before, during and after the battle of the bands will put a smile on audiences’ faces just as much as the song itself.  There’s even a surprise homage to the classic sci-fi flick Back To The Future included in the video.  The video is streaming online now here.

Family Tree will be released April 20 via Mascot Records.  The band will launch a tour in support of the album April 18 in Bethlehem, PA.  The extensive spring/summer tour is currently scheduled to run through May 27 in Madison, WI.  From there, the band will take off the month of June before heading back out on the road for a pair of dates on July 21 and July 27 in Morristown, OH and Trenton, MO respectively.

The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

TOUR DATES:
Wed, Apr 18 Sands Bethlehem – Bethlehem, PA

Thu, Apr 19 Warner Theater – Erie, PA
Fri, Apr 20 Landmark Theater – Syracuse, NY
Sat, Apr 21 Hippodrome – Baltimore, MD
Sun, Apr 22 The Clay Center – Charleston, WV
Tue, Apr 24 Phase 2 Club, Lynchburg, VA
Thu, Apr 26 The Palace Theater – Albany, NY
Fri, Apr 27 Wally’s Pub – Hampton, NH
Sat, Apr 28 The Queen – Wilmington, DE
Mon, Apr 30 Capones – Johnson City, TN
Wed, May 2 Von Braun – Huntsville, AL
Thu, May 3 Saenger Theater Mobile – Mobile, AL 
Fri, May 4 Scout Bar – Houston, TX
Sat, May 5 Trees – Dallas, TX
Mon, May 7 Templelive – Fort Smith, AR
Tue, May 8 Madrid Theatre – Kansas City, MO
Thu, May 10 Pop’s Nightclub – Sauget, IL
Fri, May 11 Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
Sat, May 12 Somerset Amphitheater – Somerset, WI
Mon, May 14 The Apollo Theatre – Belvidere, IL
Wed, May 16 Ground Zero – Traverse City, IL
Thu, May 17 The Machine Shop – Flint, MI
Fri, May 18 Manchester Music Hall – Lexington, KY
Fri, May 25 Mercury Ballroom – Louisville, KY
Sat, May 26 The Shed – Maryville, TN
Sun, May 27 Alliant Energy Center – Madison, WI
Sat, Jul 21 Jamboree in the Hills – Morristown, OH
Fri, Jul 27 Black Silo Winery – Trenton, MO

More information on Black Stone Cherry’s new video and tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.blackstonecherry.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/blackstonecherry

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlkStoneCherry

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Blacktop Mojo Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Blacktop Mojo is headed back out on the road.

The independent hard rock act announced Wednesday that it will embark on a new tour next month in support of its new album Burn The Ships.  The headlining tour is currently scheduled to launch April 20 in San Antonio, Texas and run through June 13 in Denver, Colorado.  Also included in the tour’s current schedule are stops in Watertown, New York; Fullerton, California; Green Bay, Wisconsin and many other cities nationwide.

Joyous Wolf and Of Limbo will serve as support for the tour.  Also announced as special guests at a handful of dates is Blackstone Cherry, who also will release its new album Family Tree April 20 via Mascot Records.  The current schedule for Blacktop Mojo’s new tour is noted below.

Tour Dates:
04/20 @ Rock Box – San Antonio, TX
04/21 @ Lago Del Pino – Tyler, TX
04//22 @ OK City Limits – Oklahoma City, OK
04/24 @ Phase 2 – Lynchburg, VA *
04/26 @ Debonair – Teaneck, NJ
04/27 @ Wally’s – Hampton, NH *
04/28 @ The Queen – Wilmington, DE *
04/30 @ Capone’s – Johnson City, TN *
05/02 @ Mainstage – Morgantown, WV
05/03 @ Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA
05/04 @ Whistlers – Watertown, NY
05/05 @ Rockpile – Toronto, ON
05/06 @ Token Lounge – Westland, MI
05/08 @ The Forge – Joliet, IL
05/10 @ Route 20 Outhouse – Racine, WI
05/11 @ Phat Headz – Green Bay, WI
05/12 @ Cheers – South Bend, IN
05/15 @ Spicoli’s – Waterloo, IA
05/16 @ Shovelhead Saloon – Danville, IL
05/18 @ Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
05/19 @ Sidetracks – Huntsville, AL
05/26 @ Slidebar in Fullerton CA
05/31 @ Knitting Factory – Spokane, WA
06/04 @ El Corazon – Seattle, WA
06/06 @ Diamondz – Jerome, ID
06/12 @ Black Sheep – Colorado Springs, CO
06/13 @ Streets of London – Denver, CO
* w/BLACK STONE CHERRY

More information on Blacktop Mojo’s new live dates is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.blacktopmojo.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BlacktopMojo

Twitter: http://twitter.com/BlackTopMojo

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.