“Be Right Here” – Blackberry Smoke (2024) [english]

I confess: I couldn’t wait to listen to the new Blackberry Smoke album.

It’s true that “only” 3 years have passed since the excellent You Hear Georgia, but the feeling I had was that of a band so aware of its means that playing live would have given it a new direction.

The choice of the production wizard, Dave Cobb, was therefore a winning one.

The guys from Atlanta, Georgia sound as if they own Southern rock, as if from above they were invested with the title of direct heirs to the sound and feel of the bands of the 70s.

I’m not here to make comparisons, but the flavor that these 10 tracks leave has the same DNA, especially in some passages, as that left on the ears of fans by the Allman Brohters Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Other times, true, but that mixture of rock, blues and soul played live with this naturalness and mastery is truly one of the greats.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge of Blackberry Smoke and today, exactly 20 years after their debut, they are an absolute reference of American rock.

Charlie Starr, superb guitarist, talented songwriter and frontman with genuine character, is today what Ronnie Van Zant and Gregg Allman were for their generation.

The rest of the band, Paul Jackson another excellent guitar talent, Brandon Still playing the keyboards like he was at the Fillmore East in ’71, Richard Turner and his pounding bass and the great and unfortunate Brit Turner behind the skins of his pulsating drums, they are a quintet where magic is at home.

Add to these the wonderfully soulful voices of the Black Bettys, the percussion of Preston Holcomb and the emotions that the “unofficial” sixth member Benji Shanks gives with his guitar, and you have a band that every rock lover should have in their playlist.

Be Right Here is accepting life as we find it before us, without being crushed by difficulties and the initial Dig A Hole is all this wrapped in a Southern rock made of “fat” guitar riffs with an opening with a soulful flavour, enriched by seventies keyboards.

The faintly country guitar, interspersed with lashing Southern guitars, that drive the subsequent Hammer and the Nail are perfection, as is Starr‘s vocal performance.

Another round, another live anthem.

Rock with a deliciously vintage flavor reaches our ears with Like It Was Yesterday.

The production work gives tasty fruits and letting these guitars have free rein gives slide solos that are shiny jewels.

American rock in its deepest and purest acceptance is what Be So Lucky is, played as if it were the most natural thing in the world: Charlie Starr is a predestined who will remain in the history books.

The first ballad is a small masterpiece: Azalea is such a beautiful, delicate and fragrant flower that talking about it is redundant.

Listen to it and savor the brilliant poetry about returning home sung by a voice born to tell.

Don’t relax too much, Smoke doesn’t offer many moments of apparent calm and in Don’t Mind If I Do the guitars lash the air with a fun Southern with country reminiscences that flow into a chorus with an irresistible groove, also thanks to the choirs of Black Betty.

The subsequent Watcha Know Good is one of the brightest results of the band’s new work with Cobb.

Not only because they wrote the song with their cousin Brent Cobb, but because they abandon themselves to their talent, playing a Southern soaked in the swampy waters of the South, a flavor oscillating between soul and blues as the two Allman brothers used to do.

The guitars shed magical light and Starr‘s chameleonic voice guides us by sticking to our souls.

The slide that we appreciated in the blues swamp, instead helps to escape from that darker mood with the following one, Other Side of the Light.

The other side of the coin of the legacy of the greats: a sound that shines in the swamp mud, but also under the hot Georgia sun.

Soul and rock are the basis of the sound of the South and Little Bit Crazy can become a modern manifesto: guitar riffs with a killer groove, choirs as if we were at a Gospel concert and lots of rhythm.

The song that perhaps more than any other I can’t wait to see live on October 2, 2024 in Milan.

The album closes with another Southern anthem: Barefoot Angel.

A Southern ballad that explodes in a final tangle of guitars and Starr’s voice that never ceases to please our hearts and our poor souls in search of healers.

The solos and choruses are something for lovers of quality American rock.

10 pieces that give the world the best version of a wonderful band with a unique talent.

I am convinced that the relationship with Dave Cobb completed a sound that was already rich and special and giving absolute freedom to these guitars, this rhythm, these live voices is the secret to prolonging the immortality of Blackberry Smoke.

The cover of stunning and magical beauty is only the prelude to a record that every rock lover, without exception, should memorize.

Good listening,


Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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