Blackberry Smoke return with their hotly tipped seventh studio album, featuring ten new songs that pay homage to their home state, its musical legacy and their deeply embedded roots.
For their latest offering, Blackberry Smoke teamed up with Grammy Award-winning American producer Dave Cobb. The band also welcome members of their touring band into the studio in the shape of Benji Shanks (additional guitars) and Preston Holcomb (percussion).
Their forthcoming album follows chart-busting 2018 release ‘Find A Light’, which debuted at #12 on the Official UK Album Chart. The release also scaled to dizzy heights in the US, where it entered at #3 on the Billboard Country Album chart. But can the versatile Southern Rockers repeat the success of their last album? Most certainly yes!
The opening track, “Live It Down”, is the perfect starting point for the release. With its funky groove, infectious melody and uplifting chorus, it certainly hits the spot. Whilst the title track itself is full of southern swagger – it’s a textbook Blackberry Smoke number. It’s of no surprise that the song is receiving frequent airplay on rock radio.
Those Georgia boys know how to write love songs in their unique southern stylings, and that is certainly the case with the sweet country-rock song “Hey Delilah”. On the other hand, “Ain’t The Same” is a beautiful slice of Americana, with maybe undertones of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Starr’s warm, heartfelt vocals and slide guitar playing are of particular note.
In the middle of the album, “Lonesome For A Livin’” is a traditional country number. The use of pedal steel guitar, in particular, helps to catalyse that authentic country sound. The song features a guest appearance by Jamey Johnson, whose impressive performance on this track alone is enough to make you want to do a deep dive into the country star’s discography.
However, the centrepiece of the album comes in the form of “All Rise Again”. The song’s scorching slide guitar riffs and an appearance from Gov’t Mule/Allman Brothers legend Warren Haynes make this incredible number one of the standout tracks on the album.
In the final stages of the release, the twin part guitar harmonies of “Morningside” and the barnstorming “All Over The Road” have more fire and smoulder than a Georgia BBQ. That is until “Old Scarecrow”, with its poignant and poetic lyrics, bring the album to its close.
Atlanta’s finest walk a fine line between country music and Americana along with a healthy dose of gold old fashioned Southern rock and roll music. With Blackberry Smoke’s latest release, they continue to lead the way as the current torchbearers of the genre down that now well-trodden path. Upon reflection, there is one way to describe ‘You Hear Georgia’, and that’s smoking!