When someone says, “I’m headed out to a rock show.” Pikeville is usually not the first city you would think of, but on Sunday, Pikeville was THE place to be. Edmonton, Kentucky’s Black Stone Cherry invaded the newly renamed Appalachian Wireless Arena.
Sunday was the bands’ final performance of 2019, so you best believe they were ready and eager to take care of business, but before that could happen, another band of Kentuckians kicked the night off.
The Josephines are a name you’ve likely seen on our site before. The guys were on the Black Stone Cherry show that I covered inside a cave in Tennessee. (You can check out that article here.) They were also on the bill at the Master Musicians Fest down in Somerset.
The Josephines are based out of Bowling Green and have really been making a name for themselves as they’ve toured most of the US. And on Sunday, their fellow Western Kentuckian in Chris Robertson joined them onstage to melt as many faces as he could. Those that were there early were treated to one helluva good time.
Lastly, there is one thing that I will say about The Josephines every single article, NO ONE SOUNDS LIKE THE JOSEPHINES. In a world of carbon copies on the radio, The Josephines are immediately recognizable. These guys like to color outside the usual lines and that is exactly why I love ’em. Part country, part Southern rock, and all testosterone, The Josephines own every stage they set foot on and they’re another Kentucky band you’d be well-advised to keep your eyes and ears on.
The Lacs were up next, and while their music/genre isn’t something that I listen to on a personal level, many folks seemed to enjoy them and their performance was a fun one. So since I really have no frame of reference here, I’m just going to post the photos I took below, because I’d essentially be making things up and that’s not what we do around here.
After a brief delay due to some technical issues, the time had come for four of Kentucky’s favorite sons to take the stage in Pikeville.
The shows over the course of this last week were very difficult for both Chris Robertson and John Fred Young. They’ve been battling illness, but I will say with 100% certainty that those guys still give us all that they had on that stage.
Chris was often seen massaging his vocal cords just to finish the songs. His range was a battle, but he still sounded great 99% of the time. That was a quick reminder of just how professional these guys really are. As the saying goes, “The Show Must Go On,” and watching Chris and John Fred push through should inspire and young fans or bands in attendance this past week.
As the guys like to do, when playing in Kentucky, they often break out songs that they haven’t played for a while. Particularly songs with lyrics or subject matter related to our Commonwealth. For me, that’s always a treat because I love Kentucky and so do the guys in Black Stone Cherry.
We were treated to songs like “Southern Fried Friday Night”, “Hollywood In Kentucky”, and their newest song, “Be Cowboy.”
“Be Cowboy” is a collaboration with the Professional Bull Riders or PBR as it’s often called. PBR approached the band to take a song and put a Black Stone Cherry spin on it. I’d say that’s a definite mission accomplished.
One of the loudest sing-a-longs happened with “In My Blood.” That song has been a longtime staple and it seems to always ignite the fires of those in attendance.
I want to tell a little backstory about the next song because Sunday was only the 2nd time that I’ve seen the band play it. “Killing Floor” was written with John 5, when the band was working Producer Bob Marlette. If you aren’t familiar with John 5, he was the guitarist for Marilyn Manson, but he joined forces with Rob Zombie. John is quite possibly the most versatile guitarist playing today. He is a total musical chameleon.
After Black Stone Cherry worked with John, Ben Wells purchased a John 5 signature Triple Telecaster. Now you may ask, “How on Earth do you know that story?” Well, because I bought that guitar from Ben Wells. Lol
If you’ve seen Black Stone Cherry before, you know that Ben is a nonstop ball of energy on stage and with the third pickup on the Tele in the path of where Ben strums, he kept tearing his knuckles up and I was fortunate to be able to help him get rid of it. Lol
At one point, the bands and crews from this tour run joined Black Stone Cherry onstage. There were tambourines, handclaps, bongos, and even a little Jimi Hendrix tossed in for good measure.
The coolest moment though, hands down, is when Chris led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Ben. The crew presented Ben with a birthday cake. With the candles lit, Ben made a wish and blew out the candles. For those in attendance, it was one of those rare moments where you get to see that the band and crew are truly like family. It was perfect.
By the time we got to “White Trash Millionaire”, Chris noticeably began struggling a bit, but he still didn’t miss a note. He was forced to trail off on some higher notes and I felt really bad for Chris because the last crowd he would ever want to disappoint is a Kentucky crowd.
After a short break for John Fred’s ALWAYS flipping amazing drum solo, Chris came back out and the small break gave him the resilience to finish up with “Blame It On The Boom Boom”, and of course the song that kicked off their careers in “Lonely Train.”
It was, and it always will be a pleasure to see Black Stone Cherry so what they do so well. As a Kentuckian, I’ll vouch for these guys and say that you’ll never leave a Black Stone Cherry show disappointed because you will ALWAYS get every ounce of energy they have and then some.
So we’ll end here and say Happy Birthday to Ben, but also Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who stopped by our little corner of the internet. I hope you enjoyed your stay!