Black Stone Cherry – “Kentucky”

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As a young person finding her way in a world of pretty cool music, this album gives me a perfect look at where these guys come from and it’s now I place I’d really love to visit. Black Stone Cherry have been around for a while, forming in 2001 in Kentucky. This is their fifth album and they are paying tribute to their home state and sharing all the experiences and emotions that made them who they are right now. They’ve experienced success in the US, UK and Europe with past releases, with fans enjoying their definite southern US rock sound.

But this latest journey seems like the opportunity they’ve been waiting for to show the world exactly what they’re made of. As a result, they’ve released an album true to their roots, with all the heart and soul of the younger versions of themselves when they were first starting out, combined with time, maturity, freedom and all of life’s little experiences along the way.

I took some time to really listen to and absorb “Kentucky” and initially, I found myself making comparisons to other artists. I’m a young person and there’s so many rock acts and it’s just hard not to, especially when I’m trying to identify and describe all of the things that I like. I think it’s important to get an “innocent” perspective on “Kentucky”. These guys have been around a while and even though some would ask the question of why they haven’t hit the heights of commercial success, some of us just don’t care and would rather give an honest opinion on how their music makes us feel.

So I sat down, pen in hand, making notes as I listened to each and every song and I did find that there was consistency across all the tracks, with a loyalty to the sound they wanted to share. The consistencies were their ability to give us an honest hard rock sound, great heavy guitar riffs, pretty cool lyrics, awesome vocals and the fact that these guys work together like a perfect machine. But there were also a few little surprises along the way, and I think this is what gives “Kentucky” an edge.

The opening track “The Way of the Future” was a good start. Great lyrics, heavy guitar riffs and a really catchy vibe, I also found it had a little bit of quirk with some slight but cool changes of tempo and pitch, just enough to keep you wondering where it was going and how much better it could get. After listening to that track, I already knew that I’d enjoy the rest, I just wasn’t sure to what extent that would be. It got a little bit heavier before it got lighter, which is fine by me, but I did wonder if we were going to get to a point where I felt that these guys had the potential of being commercially-friendly and appealing to a younger audience. I was excited when it did happen.

In our Dreams was a bit heavier than the first track, Shakin’ my Cage was just cool and then we arrived at Soul Machine. This is their money shot. It’s a very appealing track for airplay, it has a catchy chorus, an awesome combination of lead and backing vocals with fun and enjoyable lyrics. I’m guessing it has a bit of a flirtatious and cheeky message and that’s fine, because it has a great sound to match. Still true but just a little bit more playful.

Their cover of “War” also has a huge amount of appeal. It’s a song that younger people are familiar with and it’s an awesome version, so I hope they use this to their advantage. When you’re appealing to a generation who know you mainly through WWE, it’s definitely worth taking a track like this and milking the crap out of it!

And then once they suck us all in completely, there’s songs like Rescue Me and Born To Die – both fairly airplay-friendly but with a heavier sound, banging lyrics that can talk to us, especially during times of confusion, helplessness and loss and a bit of diversity in their design. I’m going to take a moment to make the comparisons now, because it will perfectly describe what I’m trying to say. Rescue Me has this gospel vibe, which feels like it’s been inspired by Queen and then, in my mind anyway, it travels into a combination of Metallica, Nickleback, Bon Jovi and MUSE. Yes, sounds a little mental but it’s my favourite track from “Kentucky”. That, and In Our Dreams, which I am loving more and more every time I listen to it.

I was also excited to learn the news of Black Stone Cherry’s upcoming Australian tour – they’ll perform as special guests for Steel Panther, which just adds another awesome dimension to what these guys are doing. Tour details are available at www.blackstonecherry.com and their Facebook page has regular updates on everything you need to know.

No matter how you feel about “Kentucky”, I think one thing is certain – these guys have shared an incredible journey and work and perform for all the right reasons, giving us music that is reflective, amazing to listen to, heartfelt and honest and you can definitely hear how much they love doing what they do. Chris Robertson summed it up perfectly, “Music is life, life is music. It’s faith, family and music. Those are the things that are quintessential for my life – for all our lives”. Yes Chris, and thank you.

 

 

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The Freak Show #161 – Hair Metal Love Songs

After presenting love songs on both Memory Lane and the Freak Show for Valentine’s Day, it kind of got me thinking about love songs across all the ages and different styles of music. I also started paying much more attention to lyrics and interpretations of love in all kinds of songs.

So over a couple of weeks, and you really need to understand just how much music I can listen to in a couple of weeks – I mean we’re talking hundreds of songs and then I’ll check out the lyrics and look into the background of the band and the inspiration for the song and it’s just a long and wonderful youtube/google/itunes process. Over a couple of weeks, I listened to a huge amount of love songs from all ages and styles and it was awesome to enjoy the different interpretations and representations of love, emotions, dating and mating and even though the format and sounds changed, the stories were similar and that’s what I enjoyed the most.

I decided that I would spend a couple of months learning about love songs and I’d present a different style or era each week. And of course, I had to start that ball rolling with my favourite music style of all time – HAIR METAL/GLAM ROCK!

Now I could go on for days about why I love Hair Metal and why I’m addicted to the love songs in this genre – but I’m not going to do that.  I’m just going to say a few words that sum up everything…

Bret Michaels.

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November Rain. Guitar solos.

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Gorgeousness. And long hair.

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Bad boys who want to be loved (let’s forget about the other stuff, it was 30 years ago).

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Boys wearing make-up, singing love songs. I’m gone.

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Enough said. So now, all you have to do is go and click on that crazy little hair metal link, sit back and enjoy the love x

http://yourlisten.com/thefreakshow/18th-feb-2016-okr-fm-hair-metal-love-songs

The Freak Show #160 – Valentines Day – R&B Love Songs

Every year around Valentines Day, I plan a very loved-up Freak Show.  This isn’t because I love Valentines Day, it’s more because I believe it’s a great reminder for everyone to show love all year round, instead of just one day a year.

Usually I play all the classic love songs but this year I decided to go with a R&B theme because it sort of suited my mood at the time.

R&B is a very sexy style of music. Cool sounds, smooth lyrics and vocals, and music that echoes your heartbeat – yes, it works very well. And I’m a bit of a sucker for a shirtless Jason Derulo or Usher – I love their voices, their gorgeous smiles, their abs, the way they dance and man, they can really get hearts racing. So therefore, R&B was the plan for my Valentines Day Freak Show.

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I haven’t had a real Valentine yet but I did have flowers delivered to me on the universal day of love this year. There was a card attached which said “Keep smiling beautiful” and that was it. I still have no idea who they were from. I felt like a bit of a knob asking a few people if they sent them and I’m not quite sure if I genuinely believed it was a possibility or maybe a little bit of wishful thinking. Regardless of any of that, it was really sweet to have a secret Valentine. It definitely made me smile and brightened up my day.

So there you have it! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the show much more than you probably enjoyed my dorky little Valentines story, so please visit my soundcloud page and have a little listen…

Lots of love,

Audrey x

 

 

The Freak Show & Chocolate Starfish @ Morrisons Winery Moama – Jan 2016

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Back in January, I was super excited to get the chance to catch up with Adam Thompson from Chocolate Starfish and witness another phenomenal live performance.

Adam is awesome to interview and I really get the chance to learn about the era of Aussie rock that I absolutely would have loved to see for myself. We usually talk a bit about how music has changed since then and I try to pick his brain about lots of strange and wonderful things – as you will hear.

The one thing I love the most about Chocolate Starfish is their live performances. These guys really know how to put on a show that takes over all your senses.  They sound incredible, they look awesome and perform with so much passion, fun and with so much energy. It’s one element that Adam Thompson absolutely loves -bringing theatrics to music for that performance quality that clearly keeps shows like this one, sold out.

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Of course, Chocolate Starfish write some pretty cool songs too and their song Cinderella has an amazing story. All proceeds from the sale of the song were donated to the Jaime Wild Foundation in support for Jamie, who is a young woman challenged by motor neuron disease (MND). A Cinderella Ball was held on the Gold Coast last year to raise funds for the foundation and to assist Jaime’s future quality of life. When Chocolate Starfish perform this at shows, it’s a tradition for the crowd to take off their shoe and raise it high and wave along with the song in support for Jaime, her family and for the wonderful cause and it’s a pretty special thing to be a part of.

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These guys always play a mixture of original tracks and covers and this is another reason they appeal to people of all ages. The performance at Morrison’s was all-ages and was a great family atmosphere. They perform a bit of Meatloaf, which I absolutely love of course and speaking of Meatloaf – I have to say I was completely blown away and happy beyond words when out of the blue, I hear Adam’s voice and the first few words of Sweet Transvestite from the Rocky Horror Show. If there was a moment when my love for Chocolate Starfish could get any greater – that was definitely it!

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Anyway, I’ve included the link to our snazzy little interview and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s very cool! And a HUGE thank you to Adam and all the Chocolate Starfish crew for their time and for being awesome! I can’t wait to catch up with them all again soon.

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The Freak Show #159 – Back to school!

It’s been a while! At the start of the year, I was completely up-to-date and had this grand plan of keeping it that way!  Of course, that didn’t actually happen and here we are – APRIL ALREADY! So now it’s the mad dash to sort it all out.

My first show back for 2016 was right in time for the start of the school year and I was definitely excited to get back and get stuck into another year of mayhem! I knew 2016 was going to be pretty busy and very crazy, but I don’t think I was fully prepared for all of the amazing opportunities and experiences that I’ve already had this year.  And that includes school stuff!

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So anyway, over the next few days, I will get everything organised, post some shows and links and share some exciting news. For now, here is the link to the first Freak Show for 2016 – all BACK TO SCHOOL tracks for a bit of fun.

Enjoy the show x