I saw Blackberry Smoke open for Jackyl somewhere around 2003. They did a cover of Molly Hatchet's "Flirtin' With Disaster" and the following day so did my band. There are elements of Southern Rock I really dig and some not as much. But basically I love thick heavy Les Paul's played through JCM 800's with lyrics filled with wisdom so simple that it never ceases to be true.
Blackberry Smoke has come a long way in developing their style and sound since then. The band I saw over a decade ago was a loud beer guzzlers soundtrack to southern living. Now they are all that with a little more nuance. Their latest offering Holding All The Roses isn't a balls out rocker but it is filled with plenty of balls and plenty of rock. The type that makes southern rock addictive even to those of us in the North Star state.
Brendan O'Brien produced and if you pay any attention to rock music that name doesn't need much explanation. A-Y, he's worked with everyone from AC/DC to Neil Young and his production on this record doesn't disappoint.
The record opens with the foot tapping "Let Me Help You (Find The Door)" followed by the title track which didn't seem right to listen to without a beer. "Rock N Roll Again" is sure to be a staple in their set list. "Wish In One Hand" is so southern it burned my neck. It's so southern Neil Young just wrote a song about it. It's so southern I voted for Huey Long after listening to it. So yeah. Its pretty good.
While there are definite highlights I wouldn't say there's a bad song on the record. Like all good southern rockers Blackberry Smoke has mastered the art of using cliché's without sounding cliché'. There's a song called "Payback's A Bitch" for fucks sake. And it kicks ass. "Lay It All On Me" is probably the funnest song on the record for anyone who's a sucker for a catchy acoustic riff. Not the most original composition but when it's this good who cares.
So here's the thing. Blackberry Smoke recently played my town. In the middle of winter. I have summered in Minnesota (where I live), Arizona, Texas, California, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. And I don't mind saying. As much as the Minnesota winter sucks it is hard to beat our summers. In other words. Bring your country asses back in July and play in my alley. There is little doubt this record won't be the soundtrack of some weekend that finds me in my backyard smoking the tasty parts of a hog as I crack another beer and reach for my wife's ass.
Buy this record and see this band. Don't forget to use the Amazon link and help keep Decibel Geek rollin'.
Blackberry Smoke Links