Artist: Blackberry Smoke
Album: Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime (2004)
Genre: Southern Rock/Rock
Atlanta has been the breeding ground for many a fine band, oh these many years – and this most recent incarnation is certainly no exception to that precedent. Not your average four-piece band, Blackberry Smoke fill the musical spectrum by weaving masterful works that lodge themselves inside your mind to reside in splendid happiness.
Rooted deeply in what most would call Southern rock, these boys bring their own coloration to a tired genre and breathe a refreshing rebirth deep into the musical soul. Comparisons to The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Black Crowes are inevitable when you hear them for the first time – but their original touch and unique sound is what sets them apart from being “just another Southern band.” Rich in harmonies that ride counter-melodies, their voices and instruments blend as one to create an amazing illusion of a bigger band, hiding in plain view of this quartet’s talented performances.
From the opening chords of “Testify,” to the melodic “Angeline;” the playful and oh-so-catchy “Nothing For You” (oh yes, you will find yourself humming or singing this one afterwards); the kick-ass rocker, “Train Rollin’;” the hypnotic groove and hook chorus of “Normaltown;” the fun-filled “Sure Was Good;” plus “Scar the Devil,” “Muscadine” and “Freeborn Man” (recorded live at annual Harley Rally in Sturgis, SD), every one of the 11 tracks portends a new auditory discovery that reflects a myriad of styles and influences. Co-produced by themselves and by Jackyl’s mastermind, Jesse James Dupree, this CD stomps from the get-go and never stops.
Consisting of Charlie Starr (Vocals/Guitar), Paul Jackson (Guitar/Vocals), and brothers Richard Turner (Bass/Vocals), and Brit Turner (Drums), Atlanta-based Blackberry Smoke continues to grow into the premiere Southern Rock band of America. Over the last 12 months they have shared the stage with ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Shooter Jennings, Cross Canadian Ragweed and countless others. The band has recently finished recording their sophomore effort Little Piece Of Dixie with legendary producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts) and engineer Justin Niebank, a 5-track EP which includes a video of “Lesson In A Bottle.” If you find yourself thirsting for more, check out 2008’s New Honky Tonk Bootlegs (6 tracks and a bonus dirty version of “Livin’ Hell”).
These fellows aren’t exactly kids, but like their contemporaries from Black Stone Cherry, they know how to treat their fans. At a recent show in Myrtle Beach, SC, they came out to their merchandise booth after their blistering set and graciously signed autographs and posed for photos with their deeply appreciative fans. They proved to be as accessible and friendly as they are talented – which, by comparison, makes so many other bands look like the pretentious posers they are. Good manners – like good music – never goes out of style.
Reviewed by Brian M. Howle
The previous review was originally published March 26, 2009.