Black Stone Cherry, Thank You: Livin' Live - Birmingham, UK (Eagle Rock Entertainment, 2015)

Formed in Edmonton, Kentucky back in 2001, Black Stone Cherry's name has been on my radar for the past decade or so, but I've never taken the time to actually listen to them. The hard rock quartet has built a formidable fanbase in the States, but it's in Europe where Black Stone Cherry has truly struck gold—commercially speaking. In support of their 2014 Magic Mountain album, the band headlined arenas throughout Scandinavia, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Ireland, and the UK. Thank You: Livin' Live - Birmingham, UK captures Black Stone Cherry's performance at Birmingham's LG Arena, which went down on October 30, 2014.

Since I've read rave reviews of their live shows throughout the years, I figured this was my chance to check out Black Stone Cherry doing what they (supposedly) do best.

2006's "Rain Wizard" starts off the night in fine southern rock fashion. This was literally the first song I'd ever heard by the group, and within a minute or two I was already being convinced they were the real deal. What instantly struck me was how good vocalist/lead guitarist Chris Robertson was. The guy not only shreds, he also exhudes a confidence and charm that comes through the screen in a commanding way. The three other musicians in Black Stone Cherry—rhythm guitarist Ben Wells, bassist Jon Lawhon, and drummer John Fred Young—are no slouches themselves, throwing down like the road dogs they've grown into over the course of touring four studio albums.

As previously mentioned, Black Stone Cherry is a big deal overseas, and this is apparent on songs like "Me and Mary Jane" and "In My Blood," where the crowd sings right along with Robertson. About midway into the night, a searing cover of "Sunshine of Your Love" serves as a fitting tribute to late Cream bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce. Other highlights include "Blind Man," "Like I Roll," and set closer "Lonely Train (Can't Judge a Book)."

What can I say? Thank You: Livin' Live - Birmingham, UK has convinced me I've slept on Black Stone Cherry for far too long.

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