Blackberry Smoke’s fifth album, the self-released “Like An Arrow”, OUT NOW via 3 Legged Records, picks right up where the previous four left off.
That is where you wonder where they’ll go on the next album but can’t wait to hear it because you know it’ll be a personal favorite that year.
BLACKBERRY SMOKE NEVER DISAPPOINTS MY EARS!!!
Released this past Friday, October 14, 2016, “Like An Arrow” is their most diverse album to date with songs that will strike every emotional chord imaginable. From sadness, inspirational, introspective, humorous, and sheer joy and happiness!!!
1. Waiting For The Thunder –
Blackberry Smoke have always wrote about current events but I do not recall a straight-up “we need to give the finger to the mainstream- media driven political bullshit dividing US and wake up & take OUR United States Of America back before it is too late!!!” song or dare I say, A PROTEST SONG FOR OUR GENERATION?
No matter how you label it, Blackberry Smoke are sick and tired, like MANY others of how the U.S.A. is going into the shitter while we piss n’ moan at each other & let it happen! WAKE UP!
The song drips with attitude soaked in piss n’ vinegar….I LOVE IT!
2. Let It Burn –
The sound of a whiskey soaked tryst between Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Georgia Satellites in some juke joint deep in the Delta. This tune down right boogies and will no doubt inspire some toe-tappin’ or good ol’ fashioned cuttin’ of a rug!
Nice outro, Brit!
3. The Good Life –
WARNING! Go get a box of Kleenex before playing “The Good Life”!
You’ve been warned!
Testify my good bruthas of Blackberry Smoke!
I get real misty eyed EACH time I hear this song as IT IS the story of the man who saved me from the hell that was the first 11 years of my life.
He tried rescuing my Mom & I since I was 6 but was unsuccessful w/ me due to the “spell” I was under at the hands of my demonic monster of a biological father.
He instilled in me the ethics that I would have never knew existed had I not got out from under “that evil spell”!
He gave me a sense of self-worth, a purpose, a great life, some much needed life lessons, a shoulder, an occassion loan yet refuses to ever bail me out, he tried to do the same for all my siblings but they couldn’t comprehend, all-in-all, he gave me a piece of his spirit to guide me through the pits n’ valleys of LIFE, most-of-all, he continues to give me H-O-P-E that has never wavered!!!
That man is still in my life, at 21 years of age, I adopted HIM, took his name, that man is MY Dad, Omar D. Crafton!
He has my utmost respect, my devotion and my eternal love!
THANK YOU for helping prove there are REAL MEN in the galaxy!
THANK YOU, DAD!!!
But I know Blackberry Smoke wrote it for their Dad’s but that’s what is great about a song. We are allowed to adopt its meaning as if it was written for each individual who feels a heartfelt emotional connection to THE SONG!
4. What Comes Naturally –
A lil’ ditty with a come hither message for the special someone and a lil’ bounce in their giddy-up! Grab a box of wine and put the kids to bed with their cowbells on because Momma’s got the kind of sugar that Poppa likes!
5. Running Through Time –
A bit more on the mellow side allowing the lyrics to perfectly compliment Charlie’s vocals, the acoustic guitars, Brandon’s soulful keys and Brit’s brush-drumming to shine through! The subdued electric slide solo is the cherry on top!
6. Like An Arrow –
Swampy distorted guitars start the tune off leading into Charlie’s effects enhanced vocal. A bit left-of-center for these Georgia boys who are usually pretty raw production wise. Just envision Joe Walsh’s 1978 FM radio staple “Life’s Been Good” for the possible inspiration behind the production.
Guitar freaks will love the dual solos! Admittedly, I couldn’t play a lick if my life depending on it but my earholes sure were happy after the solos!
Play one, drink one, play another one, drink another one, hot damn!
7. Ought To Know –
A rhythmic locomotive but not heavy in that sense. Think Delta air in the summer heavy!
Blackberry Smoke thick…. fat tones, solid rhythm section of the Bros. Turner, Paul’s yang to Charlie’s ying on the guitars and Blackberry Smoke’s secret weapon, Brandon Still!
8. Sunrise In Texas –
I remember seeing the band ten years ago and they played this live. Have audio and video recordings of it being performed live! After years of hearing fans ask for a studio version they done gone and outdid themselves! Digg it!
9. Ain’t Gonna Wait –
Some gorgeous finger pickin’ and Charlie’s subtles soulful inflections
dominate this song. Well placed bluesy guitar stabs accent the aforementioned flavors. My ears hear some subtle gospel-toned background vocals and possibly mandolin or banjo!
10. Workin’ For A Workin’ Man –
Blackberry Smoke’s homage to record labels of their past and how they feel feelin’ like they’re “Workin’ For MCA”? You be the judge!
11. Believe You Me – Blackberry Smoke channeling their inner Sly & The Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Prince, Stevie Salas and Richie Kotzen while sluggin’ down some Full Throttle S’loonshine courtesy of Jesse James Dupree & Michael Ballard by the backyard fire pit!
I’m really diggin’ the funky side of BBS life!
12. Free On The Wing (featuring Gregg Allman) –
Blackberry Smoke have earned a few “pinch me” moments in their 16 year odyssey as band.
Touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Gov’t Mule, The Black Crowes, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Shooter Jennings, Jackyl, etc.
Jamming on-stage with the aforementioned
bands plus Slash, Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie, Bob Weir etc.
Spending time in the studio with Mr. Weir, Clay Cook, Jamey Johnson and the late-great, Mr. George Jones!
Now, the one-and-only, Mr. Gregg Allman has lent his vast musical and vocal skills to Blackberry Smoke’s “Free On The Wing”…..pinch ME!
It don’t get much better than that!
Easily, the most raw and diverse Blackberry Smoke album to date. It takes me back to when Jesse James Dupree sent me a 4 song EP of these upstarts he was producing. A note said “Check these guys out! Producing them now, contact them then stand back because they’re going somewhere!” I did as he suggested, have sung their praises since 2002, watch them grow organically through 250-300 shows a year all around the world into where they are now! It’s been a cool ride to observe and I look forward to many more years of righteous observations down that dusty highway that Blackberry Smoke drives down!
Atta boys, ya’all outdid yourselves with ‘Like An Arrow’!!!
“Like An Arrow” Album Sampler Video courtesy of Earache Records
Blackberry Smoke is:
Richard Turner, Paul Jackson, Charlie Starr, Brit Turner & Brandon Still.
Produced by Blackberry Smoke
Recorded and mixed by Billy Joe Bowers at The Quarry Recording Studio, Kennesaw, GA.
Assistant Engineer: TJ Elias
Mastered by Billy Joe Bowers at Casa De Amor, Atlanta, GA.
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Catch BLACKBERRY SMOKE’s 2016/2017 U.S./European Tour!