How is it that a CD can make me smile and scream at the same time? I have been waiting for May 31st to come around for quite a while. I have been quite anxious to hear Black Stone Cherry’s third effort, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Let me preface this review by stating that I am a big Black Stone Cherry fan. I have been from the beginning, and probably always will be.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a very good CD, however I feel like the band’s latest effort has been Bensonized. What does that mean? Howard Benson is the producer on this CD. He has produced CD’s for many successful modern rock acts including Saliva, Seether, Three Days Grace and many more. The problem being is that Black Stone Cherry has never been a 100% Modern rock band. On their past releases, they have had one foot in the Southern Rock camp, and the other in modern rock. It is the blend of these two sounds that makes their sound a unique one, and makes Black Stone Cherry one of the more interesting bands to come along in the last 5 years. With that being said, Howard Benson has pushed Black Stone Cherry’s sound more towards the modern side, and I couldn’t be more frustrated. The mix on this record has Ben Wells guitar work practically mixed out of existence. It sounds like the Marshall stacks are set on 10 for the bass and 6 for the guitars. Ben is one hell of a guitar player, and when he does cut loose on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, he shines. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get to do so anywhere near enough. With no disrespect to the bass playing Jon Lawhon, he does a fine job, but this CD sounds as if Benson tried to modernize Black Stone Cherry’s sound more down the well beaten and tired path of Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman and Saving Abel. The whole down tuned guitar thing is WAY overdone. Quite frankly, Black Stone Cherry is a much better band than this, and deserved much better from the production and mixing side. Oddly enough, the Clear Channel family of radio stations will probably eat this up, and this could be Black Stone Cherry’s most successful CD to date.
Ok, now that I have gotten that off of my chest, aside from the production qualities of this CD, I do like Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. There are plenty of cool songs worth checking out, from “White Trash Millionaire”(see video below), “Blame It On the Boom Boom”, the future hit “In My Blood” the cover of the Marshall Tucker Band song “Cant You See”, the future stripper anthem, “Let Me See You Shake” and “Like I Roll” are amongst my favorites.
Lzzy Hale from Halestorm sings back up vocals on the CD, and does a great job. Her voice is very good pairing for Chris Robertson. I would love to see these two do a duet on a future BSC or Halestorm song. I can’t say enough good things about Chris Robertson on this disc. His voice IS the most powerful instrument to be found on Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and he has never sounded better than he does here.
Don’t let my mini rant scare you away from Between the Devil & The Deep Blue Sea, this is a very good CD, and maybe Black Stone Cherry’s best yet. With a little bit of tweaking it could have been even better.
Rating: Out of 10
1. White Trash Millionaire
2. Killing Floor
3. In My Blood
4. Such A Shame
5. Won’t Let Go
6. Blame It on the Boom Boom
7. Like I Roll
8. Can’t You See
9. Let Me See You Shake
12. All I’m Dreamin’ Of
Black Stone Cherry is:
Chriss Robertson – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Ben Wells – Guitar
Jon Lawhon – Bass Guitar
John Fred Young – Drums
If you are a Black Stone Cherry fan, take advantage of this great offer to get their new album, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea for $5.99!! This is a great offer that is only valid from 5/31/11 – 6/4/2011.
Roadrunner Records has set a May 31 release date for the third BLACK STONE CHERRY album, “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea”.
Kentucky’s BLACK STONE CHERRY, comprised of vocalist Chris Robertson, guitarist Ben Wells, bassist Jon Lawhon and drummer John Fred Young, is a band adept at creating both timeless rock ‘n’ roll and new, innovative sounds. While the band’s last record, “Folklore And Superstition”, was a compelling tribute to brotherhood and history, the new album is the summation of a year in the life of the band — every emotion, triumph, loss, romance and everything in between — it’s all here on “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea”.
This is the first time BLACK STONE CHERRY has not recorded in the South, this time taking up residence in Los Angeles to work with famed producer Howard Benson (THEORY OF A DEADMAN, DAUGHTRY, THREE DAYS GRACE). The new surroundings allowed them to strengthen their relationships as both band members and friends, ultimately a detail that sets “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” above previous recordings. The raw intensity that pervades the music on this album harkens back to the early days of BLACK STONE CHERRY, when they were a bunch of blue-collar guys just making music together for the hell of it. The band admits, “When we first began writing music, we hadn’t traveled very far out of our home state of Kentucky. Now, ten years later, we’ve traveled the world and experienced things we never imagined we would.”
First single, “White Trash Millionaire”, set to hit airwaves in April, pairs Robertson’s soulful delivery with the urgent and infectious rhythms of his fellow players. Sure, this is Southern rock at heart; but the concept is universal: just take what the world gives you and make that work. “This album is the culmination of all of the everyday ups and downs life throws at you,” says the band. “Sonically, you’ll hear some of the meanest sounding guitar riffs we’ve ever laid down, and at the same time, you’ll find ballads that will tug on your heartstrings. We wanted the album’s intensity to match that of our live show. We’re very proud of this album and excited for our fans to hear it!”
To celebrate the release of “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea”, BLACK STONE CHERRY is participating in an ongoing partnership with Evan Williams Kentucky Bourbon. The promotion brings 450,000 BLACK STONE CHERRY-branded bottles to shelves nationwide through June, including special mp3 offers and a chance to win a trip to meet the band at one of their shows.
BLACK STONE CHERRY is set to have quite the busy spring, with tours with HINDER and ALTER BRIDGE on the horizon.