Jamey Johnson and Blackberry Smoke bring southern sounds to Cincinnati

Blackberry Smoke – by Jessica Blankenship
Over the summer breezes blew in the southern sounds of country rock Sunday night at the PNC Pavilion in Cincinnati. No stranger to Ohio or Kentucky, Jamey Johnson, along with Blackberry Smoke brought in a night of entertainment to country music fans in attendance.
Blackberry Smoke would mix their own blend of country southern rock with their 30 minute set. Even though it was short, it was precise with a relaxed mood and a good time. Just a couple of days earlier, the band performed at the famed Georgia Theatre in Athens, GA, and filmed a DVD.
Right of the bat, Blackberry Smoke showed off their talent with their set of original tunes. From “Good One Coming On,” to blending in “Sleeping Dog Lie” with “Midnite Rider,” the soulful groove kept playing. Cowboy Eddie Long, longtime steel guitar player for Hank Williams, Jr. and currently with Jamey Johnson, sat in to play on “Yesterday’s Wine.” At the end of the set, the band paid tribute to the Navy Seals with “Freedom Song.”
As the lights darkened and the sounds of the prison door opened, Jamey Johnson set up shop at the home of the honky top up on stage. Fans quickly got to their feet and sang word for word to “High Cost of Living.” Johnson’s set would be intertwined with covered songs of Waylon, Merle, and Willie, alongside his hit songs.
Jamey Johnson – by Jessica Blankenship
One of the most haunting moments of the night was when Jamey Johnson sang “In the Pines.” The gravel in his voice with the lonesome wail of the song as the breeze blew through the background made it one to remember. Johnson has a way to make a song his own without hesitation.
When Jamey Johnson takes to the stage, he makes it clear that his talking is through the lyrics of the songs, not the stories or banter talk in between. Just as he gives it his all, the fans give it their all with the cheering and singing along. With singers like Jamey Johnson, there is a renewed faith that real country music is not lost.