Black Stone Cherry

Ben Wells talks about the new album Family Tree and playing Brat Fest
by Tommy Rage
May 2018

Black Stone Cherry

Black Stone Cherry

They may call Edmonton, Kentucky, home but Black Stone Cherry will lay out the welcome mat and metal porch swing to help make you feel right at home with their new Southern rock album Family Tree. Chris Robertson (vocals, rhythm guitar), Jon Lawhon (bass), John Fred Young (drums) and Ben Wells (lead guitar), bring their modern Southern rock hits to Brat fest on Sunday May 27th.

Guitarist Ben Wells discusses the new album Family Tree and what’s most important to the band after being together 17 years, “We just like playing music together and keep pushing ourselves and challenging ourselves to do new things. That’s what this album is. It’s more rock and blues influenced. We went back to our southern roots. That’s the essence behind it. We are a rock n’ roll band that likes all types of music. Whether it’s blues, soul, funk, R&B, we just wanted this album to be a feel-good album. Where people listen to it and it makes you want to move your feet and just have a good time. I think music needs more of that.” 

The first song on Family Tree does exactly that. ‘‘Bad Habit’’ kicks off with a rock-country feel from the gritty guitar work of Wells to the strong vocals of Chris Robertson. ‘‘You Got The Blues’’, the second song takes listeners back to the bands Kentucky roots. “We went back home just to dig a little deeper into our roots of the bands that inspired us, like blues and things like that. We are very hands on and produced it ourselves. We do things really well together,” emphasizes Wells. 

The seductive sweet-talking song, “New Kinda Feelin’” adds piano and cowbell to the sultry mix.  Noted Wells, “We knew what we wanted the album to sound like. We wanted to go deeper into the roots of the bands we grew up listening to.” That sentiment is highlighted with the albums next song, “Carry Me On Down The Road”, says Wells, “That was influenced by the Allman Brothers and we have been playing it live; it’s a fun song. It’s a traveling down the road song, kind of an old school song that was inspired by what we grew up listening to.”

“Southern Fried Friday Night” with its hoe-down groove and Well’s talk-box guitar add to the albums diverse arrangements. “Most of our songs are guitar oriented. Normally when we start writing, it centers around the guitar riff. Chris and I both know that the riff has to stand out and be unique”, points out Wells. The album continues to pile on endless bales of Southern Rock from start to finish. All 13 tracks are served up with a cold whisky & lemonade at a summer cook-out type feel. “It’s always very genuine, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We like going out and having fun and hopefully everyone can come join the party.”

The party closes out with the title track “Family Tree.” Reflects Wells, “The fact that we recorded it back home, it just made sense to call it Family Tree. We are one big family and that’s important to us. We always keep that first, and I think that’s what kept us having a healthy career. That’s what we love about our fans, and we consider them family as well.” 

It wouldn’t be true Southern hospitality, if Black Stone Cherry didn’t add a little extra. Two additional tracks “Love Someone” and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love” were made available with the Wal-Mart exclusive on April 20th. Wells admits, “It was just something fun we did. We needed a few extra tracks for the special edition and we like doing cover songs. Elvis was my biggest influence, that was my idea. Sometimes we like just messing around and I think that it came out great.”

Black Stone Cherry plays Brat Fest 2018 on Sunday May 27th at 8pm on the Ho-Chunk Gaming Stage.

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Black Stone Cherry
CD: Family Tree Record Label: Mascot Records
Purchase Family Tree on Amazon