|Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke – by Jessica Bray|
Blackberry Smoke fried up some southern country rock soul just like the chicken served on their plates earlier at Renfro Valley Entertainment Center in Kentucky on Saturday night. Fans in the crowd were treated to the sights and sounds of honest music in a rare intimate performance in between shows on their tour with Zac Brown Band.
Right off the bat, Charlie Starr’s unique vocals, alongside the eccentric guitar playing, Blackberry Smoke start things right with “Like I Am.” The almost two hour set infused a blend of country and southern rock that would make fans groove alongside. Blackberry Smoke mixed new tunes, alongside new, as well as unreleased music that will be recorded on their future album.
In speaking with the band prior to the show, there are two evident reasons why they get to do what they do. Soon after releasing “Little Piece of Dixie,” their record label soon folded and they were without a home. “We originally met Zac Brown as part of the Simple Man Cruise a few years back. We all became friends with his band and the next thing we knew he was winning Grammy’s. Right after we released the record, our label folded as part of the state of the music business at the time. Zac brought it up asking how we were doing and we had a home. He asked us to join him on his new venture and that’s where we are today,” Charlie recalls. “We are in the process of getting ready to record the new album. He will be involved in some way and we have a couple of producers we’re going to work with too.”
Another reason they are out on the road doing what they love is due to the love of their fans and family. There is also a special reason dear to their hearts. Drummer Brit Turner’s daughter, Lana, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma Cancer in December of 2009. “She is doing great. She’s been through a lot,” Brit says. Fans can find out more about her progress, as well as help donate to the Lana Turner Cancer Fund here.
Harley Davidson has teamed up with Blackberry Smoke for a special edition 2011 Harley-Davidson 883. It has a custom Blackberry Smoke Paint job!. A raffle is taking place, with proceeds going to help with the medical costs for little Lana Turner. One chance for $5.00 or five chances for $20.00. Drawing will take place via video by Blackberry Smoke on 05/28/2011. Winner will be announced at our Red, White & Blues Festival at Old Glory Harley Davidson in Maryland.
From songwriting, merchandising, down to social media, the band is heavily involved in individual pieces of their image. “Unlike many years ago that it took word of mouth and relying on it, you can get instant feedback or news out there with a click of a button,” Charlie mentioned. The band has grown to embrace the media and can be found posting on their message board, as well as Facebook.
This Friday, Blackberry Smoke will be heading up to Louisville, Kentucky to the KFC Yum Center to open up for Zac Brown Band. It will be a different experience than that this past weekend as it will be for several thousand in an arena setting. They will back in Louisville to Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium on June 17th. Then on July 2nd, they will be at Busters Bar & Billiards in Lexington, Kentucky. Take the time to attend one, if not all of these shows to support this great talent of musicians and songwriters.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.