Album Review – Blackberry Smoke – Leave A Scar Live In North Carolina – 3 Legged Records

Album Review – Blackberry Smoke – Leave A Scar Live In North Carolina – 3 Legged Records
August 8, 2014 | By | 4 Replies More

Play one…..drink one…..HOT DAMN!  Do you like your music blended and aged like a fine Bourbon?  Maybe a dash of Southern charm not seen in its purest form since the late 1970’s when Blackfoot, The Marshall Tucker Band, The Charlie Daniels Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd were in their prime.  Mix in some classic Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, some authentic country alas Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver and Jackson Taylor & The Sinners.  The secret ingredient is that you add just a pinch of Bluegrass! Let it age in charred white oak barrels for 14 years & you have a recipe that has bite to it and you call it BLACKBERRY SMOKE! 

They have built their fanbase the old fashioned way, one show at a time and one person at a time averaging 250+ shows a year. First off, the two CD set contains four more songs than the DVD but the DVD features some really cool behind-the-scenes and at-home footage of the band. You really get a sense of what these guys are really like which is down-to-earth, humble, grateful, honest family men who love to play music for anyone and everyone. There isn’t any “we are better than you” bullshit with Blackberry Smoke! If there was they probably wouldn’t have lasted over fourteen years. Since these are essentially the same release, just in two different formats, Double CD and DVD, I will review both as a whole.

The band kicks in to high gear right out of the gate with “Shakin’ Hands With The Holy Ghost” of their latest studio album. The opening riff screams Angus Young & AC/DC and it’s on from there. This song has a good-time feel to it even if you get into trouble doing it. A personal highlight for me is the inclusion of two tracks, “Sanctified Woman” & “Testify”, off their 2003 debut album, “Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime”. That album tends to get overlooked live and by fans since the band didn’t really “break” till 2009, so those songs are a treat for me. “Six Ways To Sunday” really brings in the honky tonk boogie and Stones feel. Brandon Still’s piano and organ playing really adds to the band’s sound and he really shines on this track.

“Ain’t Got The Blues” is just a melodic masterpiece that will have you tapping your toes and singing along within seconds. The band locks in for an emotional rendition of the title track of their latest studio offering, “The Whippoorwill”. Surprisingly, they played every song off of the album. while playing two songs of their 2008 EP “New Honky Tonk Bootlegs”, four songs off of 2009’s “Little Piece Of Dixie” and one new song. “Son Of A Bourbon” is a hell-raising autobiographical anthem and the lyrics would look great chiseled on the back of my tombstone!

The new song, “Payback’s A Bitch” could very well be called “The Karma Song”, take its lyrics to heart. Can’t wait to hear a studio version of that one. “Up The Road” is very laid back, tastefully played, the solo yet builds momentum towards the end. This is one of those songs live where it lets the band stretch out and just jam. The only thing that really describes this tune is EPIC. I’m surprised they didn’t end the night with “Up The Road” but they ended it how it began, in high gear on “Shake Your Magnolia”. An ode to those wonderful women shakin’ their groove thang as we let it rain till we are rolling pennies for Ramen noodles.

Both CD’s and the DVD are mixed to sonic perfection. Nobodies parts suffer or get covered up, everyone shines equally. I’ve seen the band live numerous times and their soundman, Billy Kirk is one of the best in the business so the folks who recorded this show did a fantastic job of capturing the true spirit of these road dogs. The visuals on the DVD are sharp as HD can be while the edits are not hyperactive and distracting. The bonus footage of the guys on the road and at home is a nice touch. You learn about their individual personalities and their home life. The real treat of the DVD is the footage of Blackberry Smoke recording with George Jones and Jamey Johnson on a cover of Willie Nelson’s “Yesterday’s Wine”. Do yourselves a favor and purchase both formats from the bands website where they offer them in a bundle at a discount. The DVD makes for one helluva party favor with your friends on the big screen cranked to 11 while the two CD set is the perfect soundtrack for a road trip!

The Brothers Turner are a well-oiled rhythm section who play for the song and not their egos. Charlie & Paul are a great one-two punch on guitars with Charlie leaning towards the bluesy/soulful side of playing and while Paul tends to be more straight ahead in the rock feel. Since joining in 2009, Brandon has really added something to the bands already potent mix. Singing over this toxic brew is guitarist Charlie Starr. His bluesy voice and amazing ability with words add just the right ingredient to guarantee you will always crave a heaping helping of Blackberry Smoke’s Southern Hospitality!!!

This two cd live set and the companion dvd are the perfect stop-gap between their last studio album “The Whippoorwill” and their as-yet-untitled next studio offering.  They just finished recording it with Mega-Producer Brendan O’Brien! Mr. O’Brien has been behind the controls for some of my favorite releases by such artists as Aerosmith, Jackyl, Pearl Jam, The Black Crowes, Seether, Bruce Springsteen, Stone Temple Pilots and many others! I am excited to see what he has brought out of the boys of the almighty Blackberry Smoke.

Blackberry Smoke – Leave A Scar Live In North Carolina
Release Date: July 8, 2014
3 Legged Records

Band:
Charlie Starr – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Paul Jackson – Guitars & Background Vocals
Richard Turner – Bass & Background Vocals
Brandon Still – Piano & Organ
Brit Turner – Drums

Double CD Track Listing

Disc 1

1. Shakin’ Hands With The Holy Ghost
2. Sanctified Woman
3. Testify
4. Good One Comin’ On
5. Six Ways To Sunday
6. Ain’t Got The Blues
7. Lucky Seven
8. Pretty Little Lie
9. Restless
10. Up In Smoke
11. Crimson Moon
12. The Whippoorwill
13. Son Of The Bourbon

Disc 2

1. Everybody Knows She’s Mine
2. One Horse Town
3. Lesson In A Bottle
4. Ain’t Much Left Of Me
5. Leave A Scar
6. Sleeping Dogs*
7. Payback’s A Bitch*
8. Up The Road*
9. Shake Your Magnolia*
* = Not on the DVD!

DVD Track Listing:

1. Shakin’ Hands With The Holy Ghost
2. Sanctified Woman
3. Testify
4. Good One Comin’ On
5. Six Ways To Sunday
6. Ain’t Got The Blues
7. Lucky Seven
8. Pretty Little Lie
9. Restless
10. Up In Smoke
11. Crimson Moon
12. The Whippoorwill
13. Son Of The Bourbon
14. Everybody Knows She’s Mine
15. One Horse Town
16. Lesson In A Bottle
17. Ain’t Much Left Of Me
18. Leave A Scar

+ Additional bonus footage

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Category: Reviews

Comments (4)

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  1. Tina Thiry says:

    I am absolutely crazy about BlackBerry Smoke! Not only the incredible songs, music and heartfelt lyrics, but the guys in the band! They Always make me feel special, they All remember my name and I Love them as friends/family! They are my favorite band, even over the Rolling Stones!♡

    • Crash Crafton says:

      That sounds like the BBS I’ve known since 2002! Class acts & fabulous musicians to boot!

      Thank you for taking the time to read my review & to comment on it!

  2. Frank Shipley says:

    Absolutely the best southern music group around. Talented bunch of musicians that are true to their music, and true to their fans. If you haven`t discovered Blackberry Smoke, you`re missing the boat !

  3. Mike Deitz says:

    You can listen to their CD’s , you can watch their DVD’s, you can watch all the YouTube vid’s you want but when you go watch them Live you are hooked forever! Its immediate withdrawal the minute you leave the venue.

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