CD REVIEW – BLACKBERRY SMOKE – Holding All The Roses
10 February, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Full of southern comfort, Blackberry Smoke are part of the resurgence of that venerable music genre, alongside Dan Baird & Homemade Sin, The Bluefields, The Cadillac Three and their ilk, but don’t for a moment think that means using Lynyrd Skynyrd as their one and only template.
Oh no – these hirsute lads have a lot more going for them: Skynyrd’s jaunty guitar lines and cheeky lyrics are a feature, while producer Brendan O’Brien coaxes AC/DC riffs on tracks like Wish In One Hand. Elsewhere there’s a ‘70s Stonesy or Allmans vibe, and a weariness to songs such as Woman In The Moon and Too High which suggest ten years of rock n’ roll fun n’ games have had their share of dead ends and setbacks.
With the rest of the world finally starting to pay attention, Blackberry Smoke’s fourth album title may prove prophetic – but it’s just as likely a wry joke on their part, though singer Charlie Starr sounds deadly serious when he advises some unnamed foe to “sleep with one eye open” on the excellent Payback’s A Bitch.
Other influences go into the jambalaya of Blackberry Smoke’s sound: a wisp of barbecue smoke, a shadow of John Denver’s acoustic country, the twang of Steve Earle’s rebel country rock, the jump n’ stomp of The Georgia Satellites. It makes a tasty brew that’ll only delight more with repeated listens.
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