10 years ago, roughly around the same time, Black Stone Cherry arrived with a bang with their self-titled debut album, and mesmerized us with their crunchy sound and feel-good vibes. A decade later and with 5 albums under their belt, this band has truly come of age. Their latest offering, titled ‘Kentucky’, is a special one indeed, as the band goes back to the same place they recorded their debut and the effect is clearly visible in their compositions. Since then the band has been touring worldwide and are returning to UK next week.
Metal Wani’s Luke Smith had a quick chat with Black Stone Cherry’s Ben Wells. Here what he had to say:
Hi Ben. Greetings from Metal Wani. How’s the mood in Black Stone Cherry heading in to this upcoming UK tour?
Ben: We are very excited and very anxious! This a tour like we’ve never done before. We’ve never done a proper “..Evening With..” tour where we are the only band on the bill. We’ve never done two different sets. It’s something we are very excited about!
This is the second UK tour in support of your latest release “Kentucky”. What’s different with these lives show to the last time you toured the UK?
Ben: Honestly, we are viewing this as the ‘official tour’ for the Kentucky album cycle. When we did Carnival of Madness earlier this year, the album hadn’t come out at that point. That tour was more of a preview and to get in the face of our fans prior to the album’s release – and bring our friends with us. Now we can come back and play more songs from this album and hopefully people will be more familiar with them now that the album has been out for some time
I am stoked to see you guys covering various cities in UK. How did the band decide what city’s you would play on this tour? What’s the best UK city you have ever played and why?
Ben: We don’t really get to pick each city we go to. Our booking agent does all that and it’s down to venue availability and the tour routing and logistics fitting together in a practical way. In fact, we’ve had a lot of people ask why aren’t we playing here or there, but it’s just not that simple. We wish we were able to come play in every city! Haha! However, this tour includes plenty of excellent towns and we are confident it’s gonna rock!
I was in Australia earlier this year when I saw you guys live for the 1st time. It became glaringly obvious to me that this is a band that has worked ridiculously hard in cultivating a live performance that is special to each and every one of them. From your personal perspective, what factors lead to the band getting better and better with every tour?
Ben: Thank you for saying that. I think the more you play, the more you grow. Not only as a band, but as individuals. For us it’s always been about a great high energy performance. We love playing live and we want that energy and passion to translate to our audience.
Let’s talk about the latest release “Kentucky”. The band stays well within the Southern Rock boundary but do enough to stand out from the clutter and carve a unique identity of their own. What was the Inspiration behind the new album Kentucky in terms of the music and lyrics that was used on the album?
Ben: I think because we were able to do this album on our own, exactly the way we wanted to, it allowed us to be fully ourselves. We didn’t overthink it. We weren’t writing for radio or any form of commercial success. We just wanted to make an honest to the core BSC album.
I like the simplicity that is carried in your songwriting process. As a metalhead, if one assess each element in your songwriting individually, you do not seem to do anything radically different, but with the way it all comes together, it is hard not to get lost in your compositions and enjoy your performance. Not many bands possess this skill of maintaining simplicity yet executing it well. Do you agree?
Ben: Well, we just write what comes naturally. We aren’t trying to create the next “Black Dog” riff because if we try and do that, it’ll come out forced. We want what we do to be natural to us. People can tell when things are forced and too try-hard.
The production incorporates sludgy-sounding guitars yet preserves the Southern Rock essence. The record clearly surpass your previous efforts and deliver a sound that is dirty and sludgy yet intense and beautiful. Tell us about the production on this record?
Ben: Thank you! I think that goes back to us self producing it. We didn’t second guess ourselves, we just went into the studio with the gear we use live. We knew what we wanted this to sound like, and that’s a live, raw, heartfelt album. So we went in and just did our thing!
With the single “The Rambler” how did you manage to get Billy Ray Cyrus involved in the video shoot for that song?
Ben: ‘The Rambler’ is a special song for us. The director of the video, Blake Judd, sent the song to Billy Ray, who came back and said he loved it and wanted to star in the video! We were really honoured !
What’s next after the UK tour? I see you are touring Australia early next year. Anything else on cards for the fans?
Ben: We will tour mainland Europe in January-February. It looks like a US run in March, then Australia in April. So we definitely have some touring on the horizon!
We look forward to see you guys live. Anything you want to say to the UK fans a head of the tour?
Ben: Seeing how this tour has been received so far is a testament to our amazing fans across the U.K. We are honoured they have bought the tickets and share in the excitement with us! Thank you!
Catch Them On Tour:
Sat 19th Nov – CARDIFF St David’s Hall
Mon 21st Nov – PORTSMOUTH Guildhall
Tue 22nd Nov – WOLVERHAMPTON Civic Hall
Thu 24th Nov – MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Fri 25th Nov – GLASGOW Royal Concert Hall
Sun 27th Nov – NEWCASTLE City Hall
Mon 28th Nov – SHEFFIELD City Hall
Wed 30th Nov – BRIGHTON Dome
Thu 1st Dec – NOTTINGHAM Royal Concert Hall
Fri 2nd Dec – BRISTOL Colston Hall
Sun 4th Dec – TRECCO Planet Rockstock
Mon 5th Dec – LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Tue 6th Dec – LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
Thu 8th Dec – NORWICH UEA
Buy Tickets Here: http://www.livenation.co.uk/artist/black-stone-cherry-tickets