Black Stone Cherry
Family comes first—you can never forget who was there with you from the start. The Edmonton, Kentucky-based rock n’ roll quartet Black Stone Cherry was raised on musical forefathers such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, Muddy Waters, and the Faces, among other 1970s staples, and, now, with its sixth album, Family Tree, BSC salutes its classic rock heritage and honors its legacy with a beast of a Southern rock n’ roll album.
“We caught divine intervention with this one,” guitarist Ben Wells says with a good chuckle. “We hit a creative spark and tapped into a spirit and a fire we hadn’t before.” Drummer John Fred Young adds: “Family Tree showcases all of our collective musical influences and how we have taken those to create something that is truly our own unique Southern American Rock ‘N Roll Sound.”
For 17 years, Black Stone Cherry has put forth a new vicious breed of Southern rock, injecting youthful vitality and a myriad of fresh new influences into the beloved American rock tradition. To date, the band has released five critically acclaimed albums, and one well-received blues EP. Black Stone Cherry has also rocked 12,000-cap arena shows, topped the UK charts, and shared the stage with a diverse roster of superstars, including Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Mötorhead, and ZZ Top.
Black Stone Cherry came together in 2001 in Edmonton, Kentucky, eventually coalescing around the lineup of Chris Robertson, vocals and guitar; Ben Wells, guitar and vocals; Jon Lawhon, bass and vocals; and John Fred Young, drums. Young's dad Richard, and his Uncle Fred, are two members of the iconic country-fried rock n’ roots band The Kentucky HeadHunters, and the high school-aged boys came up honing their craft in the group’s Practice House, a 1940s bungalow.
“We grew up in the Kentucky Headhunters’ rehearsal space, looking up at posters of Cream, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, the Stones, Montrose, and the Faces. We were like kids someone took in a time capsule and put in the woods,” says drummer John Fred Young.
Like the band’s previous album and EP, Black Stone Cherry opted to self-produce and track Family Tree at David Barrick's Barrick Recording, the same studio where BSC recorded its self-titled debut and Kentucky albums . BSC also opted to not over-rehearse in advance of the album, instead preferring the immediacy and spontaneity of in the-moment takes. “There was a lot of laughter in the studio this time, and an air of comfort because we had self-produced the last few releases. It helped us get down to the nitty gritty bones of our music,” says bassist Jon Lawhon. The band also entrusted guitarist and vocalist Chris Robertson to mix the album. This homespun approach perfectly suited the loose but epiphanic creative sessions that birthed Family Tree.
Geoff Tate's Operation: Mindcrime
Multi-platinum selling, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Geoff Tate is best known for his 30-plus years as the creative and driving force behind the progressive metal band Queensryche.
Since its inception with Geoff at the helm, Queensryche has sold over 20 million albums worldwide and has performed in upwards of fifty countries. Geoff is regarded as one of the most skilled vocalists in the genre with hundreds of modern, popular artists citing him and his former band as a major influence. Combining social consciousness and expertly crafted lyrics with high-energy, melodically complex music, Queensryche with Geoff Tate at the forefront became internationally recognized as the thinking man's rock band. The band's first three albums -- their self-titled EP (1983), The Warning (1984) and Rage for Order (1986) -- all hit gold status selling over 500,000 units each. With the release of their landmark concept album Operation: Mindcrime (1988) -- which won critical and popular acclaim and comparisons to the Who's Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall -- Queensryche went on to bring their progressive music to sold-out audiences the world over.
Following the album's platinum success, Queensryche released Empire, which quickly entered the Top Ten on the Billboard charts, eventually generating sales of more than three million copies. The album featured the hugely popular hit, "Silent Lucidity," which would be the band's first Top Ten single (#9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart). Geoff and the band would ultimately perform the Grammy nominated song live at the Grammy awards accompanied by a supporting orchestra. In all, Queensryche has been nominated for a Grammy four times and has had their music featured in three feature films. In 2006, the band released Operation: Mindcrime II, a scorching sequel to their original 1988 tale of "Rock, Revenge and Redemption." The band would soon hit the road performing both albums back-to-back in their entirety in an incredible theatrical presentation. The spectacle would be captured on Mindcrime at the Moore, a double CD/DVD release so popular that the DVD would debut at #1 on Billboard's Top Music DVD chart and eventually reach gold status.
Shortly after the release of that hugely successful set, Queensryche would release another gem in 2007 titled, Sign of the Times: The Best of Queensryche, that featured 17 career-spanning tracks including seven Top 10 hits with a two-CD deluxe Collector's Edition that added fifteen rare and previously unreleased recordings. Later that year, the band found themselves on the fall leg of the highly acclaimed Heaven and Hell Tour with the late, great Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice along with other special guest, Alice Cooper. The year would culminate with the release of Take Cover, an adventurous 11-song collection of covers ranging from Black Sabbath to Broadway.
In early 2009, Queensryche released American Soldier (via Atco/Rhino Records), a concept album inspired by the stories of military veterans that examines the consequences of war from the soldier's perspective... yet another effort that will solidify Geoff and the band in rock history. A truly memorable experience, the band met with, and performed for, troops in both the U.S. and the Middle East. In the year 2010, Queensryche would, once again, display their immense creativity by presenting the Queensryche Cabaret, which was heralded as "the first adults-only rock show." In 2011, the band would find themselves celebrating their 30th Anniversary in rock, marking the occasion with the release of Dedicated to Chaos (Roadrunner Records/Loud & Proud) and an extensive support tour. At the end of 2012, Geoff released his first solo album in over a decade titled, Kings & Thieves (InsideOut Music), that was quickly followed by the news of a 25th Anniversary Mindcrime Tour that would encompass the United States in 2013. Also that year, Geoff would release what would be his last album under the Queensryche name, Frequency Unknown (Cleopatra Records), an effort that would feature such guest musicians as Ty Tabor, K.K. Downing, Brad Gillis, Dave Meniketti and Chris Poland along with the members of his version of Queensryche at the time - Rudy Sarzo, Robert Sarzo, Simon Wright, Kelly Gray and Randy Gane. In 2014, it was announced that Geoff and his band mates would be embarking on their farewell tour as Queensryche, with a subsequent announcement stating that Queensryche with original lead singer Geoff Tate would be changing its name to "Operation: Mindcrime" in September for future tours and recordings. By the end of the year, Geoff began working on one of his most ambitious works to date, an entirely new concept album, titled The Key, that would be the first in a trilogy. Released in September of 2015 (Frontiers Music SRL), the debut album examined the question, "What would you do if you discovered the key to changing the way we view the world, the way we look at time, the way we travel, and could essentially change the human condition -- for better or for worse?" Next in the trilogy would be 2016's Resurrection, completed by 2017's The New Reality. All three albums were followed up with international tours that included extensive tours of the United States. Beginning in June of 2018, Geoff and the current line-up of Operation: Mindcrime, will be are hitting the road to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Operation: Mindcrime, performing the 1988 landmark concept album from beginning to end in its entirety... It's a show that Geoff loves to perform and fans love to see, only proving that good music never goes out of style. As always, Geoff looks forward to the musical journey that lies ahead.
Originally formed in the college town of Springfield, Missouri USA, this Hard-Rock trio comprised of Chicago born bassist+vocalist Doug Pinnick, he was already in his thirties when he met Mississippi native guitarist+vocalist Ty Tabor, then just 18 and Jerry Gaskill a 22 years old drummer+vocalist from New Jersey. In the early '80s, the threesome began playing cover tunes as The Edge, becoming Sneak Preview in 1983.
Two years later the group were lured from Springfield to Houston by the false hope of a management and recording contract; they also changed their name to King's X and after several attempts, the band finally scored a deal with the independent Megaforce label.
After eight years struggling for recognition in March 1988 Pinnick,Tabor and Gaskill released their long-awaited debut album, "Out Of The Silent Planet"; critics and musicians took immediate notice of the band's unique blend of vocal harmonies with muscular riffs mixed with a positive sometimes spiritual theme and the record deservedly cracked The Billboard Top 200 chart, peaking at #144.
In the summer of 1989, the track "Over My Head" from "Gretchen Goes To Nebraska", received a moderate amount of airplay on active-Rock stations; the band found even more widespread favor with critics and fans alike and their sophomore album entered the U.S. Top 200 chart at #123.
King's X's third album, "Faith Hope Love", was the first LP to break the top 100 of The Billboard 200 list, due to the success of the single "It's Love", it crested at #6 on The Mainstream Rock Tracks giving the band a career-best chart placing in the process; the trio toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe in support of the album opening up for notable acts such as AC/DC and Living Colour.
Their eponymous fourth release and the first issued by Atlantic Records in March 1992, wasn't as successful as its predecessor failing to break the top 100 of the Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart; however, the lead single, "Black Flag" peaked at #17 on The Mainstream Rock chart.
Two years later the trio resurfaced with "Dogman", the album was considered a break from the norm of King's X, where vocal harmonies and musicianship still were the key, Pinnick handled the lead vocals for the entire album which hit #88 on The Billboard 200 thanks to a line-up of sold out shows including an appeareance at the Woodstock 1994 festival and a brief tour opening for Pearl Jam; the album's title cut eventually managed to crack the top 20 of The Mainstream Rock list.
The next release, 1996's "Ear Candy", didn't rise higher than #105 on The Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and failed to produce a hit single; not long after the group parted ways with Atlantic who would issue one more release from the band a year later, "Best Of King's X", which featured reamastered tracks, three unreleased compositions and a 10-minute live version of "Over My Head", recorded at Woodstock II. Ty Tabor released a solo album at the start of 1998 and a few months later Doug Pinnick launched his solo project, under the alias Poundhound; however King's X put out their seventh studio album and first for the Metal Blade label, "Tape Head", in October 1998. A year later Tabor was involved in the ambitious recording project Platypus, with John Myung former bassist for Dream Theater. King's X's second release for their new label, "Please Come Home...Mr. Bulbous", arrived May 2000. "Manic Moonlight" followed one and a half year later cracking the top 20 of the Billboard Independent Albums chart; to support the release, the trio decided to embark on a fall 2002 arena tour opening for Dream Theater and Joe Satriani. May 2003 saw the release of "Black Like Sunday", the set was a retrospective back into the days when the trio was in their infancy and it was the first album which the band issued on its own Brop! label. Two years later the innovative heavy-Rock trio returned with its eleventh studio record, "Ogre Tones", it inched into the top 30 of the American Independent Albums list; "Alone" was the single released off the CD, but tanked.
King's X releases a new studio album, entitled "XV", in May 2008 through InsideOut.
The roots that grew Canada's Queen of Rock, Sass Jordan, started in Europe and edged across the pond to the veins of metal pulsing in the musical metallurgy of Montreal in the 70's. Montreal's burgeoning '70's scene included a 'no holds barred' approach to glam, punk, blues, prog, metal, country, jazz, folk, with the added attraction of a homegrown sound created by the Quebecois artists of the decade, unique to the landscape and pertinent to the denizens of the period. There was no better musical place to be in the '70's- and this was the backdrop that nurtured one of the pioneers of female fronted rock - Sass Jordan.
In the years since these auspicious beginnings, Sass has found herself working with and in the company of many of the people that inspired her to do what she does, amongst them the incomparable Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Steve Miller Band, Van Halen, The Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick, Santana, Joe Cocker, Styx, Rodger Hodgson, April Wine, Jeff Healy, and countless others. She has won various awards, including Juno and Billboard, and has sold over a million records world wide.
Sass was a feature actor in the episodic tv show "Sisters", and from 2003 to 2008 starred as one of the four judges on the hugely popular television series, Canadian Idol. Her songs and performances have been featured on numerous television shows, including the iconic 90's 'Baywatch' and 'Knight Rider', The Dennis Miller Show, and SyFy's 'Defiance'.
She is currently working on new music while continuing to perform live concerts, and she is developing a webisode/podcast series entitled 'Roadogs and the 10 Commandments of Rock" in support of her friend, Tom Petersson's foundation, RockYourSpeech.com
There are very few female singers out there that are used as an example to describe a sound/style, but Sass is one of them.