"Ole Cherry Tree" by Stone BearReview
We are lucky to have more than our fair share of excellent blues practitioners locally: not only do they all possess an obvious love of the form as well as great technique, they all bring an individual approach to the music, partly due to their own styles, partly due to their particular interests within the broad range of the genre. Stone Bear (who comprise Jeff Dennis on drums and vocals
& David John on guitar, vocals and harmonica) are certainly creating a very distinct voice on the scene (you may already have heard them live, or their eponymous debut album or the track they kindly allowed to appear on "Hot Music Live Presents Volume One": "Bring a Little Love")
The fact that they only have two members ensures the sound is stripped back to its essentials for starters: add to that a clear penchant for the earliest & rawest forms (which must mirror to some extent how the blues was originally played in the Deep South particularly, even if the instrumentation probably rarely included drums as such) and you have a most compelling recipe.
And so to their latest single (available on all reputable download sites) " Ole Cherry Tree"
Propelled by Jeff's swing drumming & David's Howlin' Wolf style riff, the song is an interesting balance between a smooth & intoxicating groove & David's very raw & emotive singing. This is Stone Bear par excellence & I'm told reflects the style of the material they are currently recording. Sung in classic repeating couplets style, the song seems to address timeless & mythic issues of travel, home, love & tradition: in fact if you wrote the lyrics down & presented them to me I'd have certainly bought them as possibly having been written at anytime in the blues history. The images evoked sit outside rooted time & place (which is ironic given the word "roots" is one which instantly springs to mind when hearing it) and I should be interested if other musicians choose to cover it: it has "standard" potential stamped right through it.
You can catch Stone Bear live at the Magic Lantern at Temperance on Friday 19th April & at the next APE Promotions night at the Zephyr Lounge on Saturday 27th April