Artist – Blackberry Smoke with Bob Weir
Album Title – “Blackberry Smoke with Bob Weir – An Evening At TRI”
Label – 3 Legged Records
Release Date – February 3, 2017
01. Columbus Stockade Blues w/ Bob Weir
(Thomas Darby/Jimmie Tarlton)
02. One Horse Town
(Travis Meadows/Jeremy Spillman/Charlie Starr)
03. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
(Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)
04. Deep Elem Blues w/ Bob Weir
05. Big Boss Man w/ Bob Weir
(Luther Dixon/Al Smith)
06. Sure Was Good
07. Ramble On Rose w/ Bob Weir
(Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia)
08. Big River w/ Bob Weir
09. Woman In The Moon
10. Ain’t Got The Blues
11. Promised Land w/ Bob Weir
(Chuck Berry to the melody of “Wabash Cannonball”)
12. The Whippoorwill
13. Up On Cripple Creek w/ Bob Weir
16. The Weight w/ Bob Weir
DVD EXTRAS INCLUDE:
Behind the scenes footage
A hilarious interview with the band by Bob Weir
PURE! There is no other way to accurately describe the musical collaboration that occurs between Bob Weir and Blackberry Smoke on the new DVD, “Blackberry Smoke with Bob Weir – An Evening At TRI”. Wait! PERFECT! Yet another adjective to describe what was laid down to tape!
Those wild and wooly longhairs from Atlanta, GA. known as Blackberry Smoke (BBS) are back with an exceptional and enlightening new DVD titled Blackberry Smoke with Bob Weir: An Evening At TRI. The video was filmed at Grateful Dead legend Bob Weir’s TRI Studios and finds Blackberry Smoke joined by the Grateful Dead guitarist at different times throughout the seventeen-song set.
I can only imagine the chance to spend a few days with Bob Weir at his Tamalpais Research Institute (TRI) was one of those “did that really happen?” instances we all experience once in our time on this big blue marble. I’m thankful film was rolling because my knowledge of Bob Weir/Grateful Dead was very limited to a few articles and the music video for “Touch of Grey”. This film was a facepalm moment for me that drove me to order the Grateful Dead’s 12 CD Box Set entitled “The Golden Road 1965-1973”. The guys in BBS will be glad to know that “I get it” now and it is all their damn fault!
Justin Kreutzmann directed and edited the DVD & captures the performances, conversations, and overall vibe in a very casual style. It gives you the sense that you are there not sitting in your La-Z-Boy watching it at home. The edits are well spaced out and clean, no blitzkriegin’ hearky-jerky KISS “Rock The Nation” gonzo vibe here!
In addition to performances, the band jam out compositions by the Dead, The Band, Chuck Berry, Little Feat and others. Make sure to watch it as a film just not the individual songs or you’ll miss some insightful but sometimes hilarious interactions amongst the participants and Dead roadie Steve Parish. My favorite is the story Steve tells about the Allman Brothers’ Chuck Leavell‘s “explosive” performance at Watkins Glen years ago.
On to the delicious meat and potatoes of this hearty film….
First up is “Columbus Stockade Blues” w/ Bob Weir, it’s a song by Thomas Darby and Jimmie Tarlton that was written & recorded in 1927. Many artists have played the song in band, jazz, blue grass, country, and blues arrangements. BBS has played it live for many years just as the Dead did back in their day.
This performance of “One Horse Town” is as heartfelt as I’ve ever heard from the band. Obviously lyrically autobiographical, the photographs that are interspersed in the footage takes its impact to a whole different emotional level.
What a song title we have in “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo”. Both performances here of the tune are superb and along with “Deep Elem Blues” w/ Bob Weir viewers are treated to two of the Dead’s longtime live set regulars.
Al Smith and Luther Dixon penned “Big Boss Man” w/ Bob Weir was made famous by Jimmy Reed and has been covered by everyone from Elvis to Bill Cosby to The Kentucky Headhunters and B.B. King. Ahhh, one of my favorite BBS tunes from their 2003 debut album, “Sure Was Good” is here in all its glory. I NEVER get tired of hearing it even fourteen years after the first time. Ahhh, memories….
“Ramble On Rose” w/ Bob Weir is another Dead staple. You can tell the guys in BBS are well-versed in the Dead and not just name dropping for the sake of sales or cool points. In my opinion, Blackberry Smoke IS this generations Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd in musicianship, live shows, and honest spirit. They are in this for the love of the connection between them, the song, and their audience. Always have been and always will be!!!
Johnny Cash has to be smilin’ down since 2013 when BBS and Weir laid their mojo boogie to his classic Rockabilly tune, “Big River” w/ Bob Weir. This rendition gives HeadCat’s version a run for their money. If only Lemmy Kilmister could have been at Tamalpais Research Institute that day to add his speed soaked vocals to the mix. Imagine the hallucinations between Lemmy, Bob and those Blackberry Smokers! Far out!
The ONLY thing that is missing from this DVD is a collaboration on “Too High” from BBS’ “Holding All The Roses” album but we are treated to “Woman In The Moon” from that same album. Charlie Starr really bears his soul in this performance. Brandon Allen Still‘s B-3 and Charlie and Paul Jackson‘s harmonizing just adds to the soulful tone. Least we forget the most subdued but tight rhythm section in the music industry, bassist Richard Turner and drummer Brit Turner. *chills*
“Ain’t Got The Blues” is a Stadium anthem if there ever was one. Don’t let that description make you believe that you are hearing the next “We Are The Champions”. It is just a song that no matter the size of the audience, 99% of it will be singing every word. From the album to clubs to stadiums to this DVD, it is a joyful noise.
The “Johnny B. Goode” story that is told prior to Chuck Berry‘s “Promised Land” w/ Bob Weir will leave you laughing but the performance will leave your foot tappin’! Digg the down-home boogie! Very rarely will an artist will pen a tune that takes you back down memory lane. Charlie Starr achieved just that on “The Whippoorwill”. It is a somber tone but it’ll leave you smilin’ as you recall a time of innocence and loved ones who have departed. Such a sonic tapestry that Blackberry Smoke weaves on this cut.
“Up On Cripple Creek” w/ Bob Weir, “Willin’”, “Ophelia” and “The Weight” w/ Bob Weir bring the festivities to a close. It is a nice homage to The Band and Little Feat. Given the amount of talent playing these tunes, they really could have turned into a wankfest but they let the tunes shine how they were intended to while putting their unique stamp on them.
Overall, my feelings about Blackberry Smoke are well known. Road dawgs who play 250+ annually anywhere there is electricity and even some places that don’t. They are the greatest band to come out in the last twenty years. They live for the music and their dedicated fan base which is more of a family vibe. There is not a wall between the band and their fans like there is with most bands. It is a mutual appreciation society as was the case between Bob Weir and BBS.
This seventeen song sets sees the participants fully electrified and stripped down acoustically. They play for the song but leave plenty of room to stretch out the jam. I’d love to see Mr. Weir and Blackberry Smoke take the show on the road. I think it’d be on par with last year’s Smokin’ Mule trek with Gov’t Mule. Bob Weir and Blackberry Smoke would definitely be truckin’!
Official Film Trailer
DVD Plays ALL Regions
Poster is 18 x 24 and LIMITED EDITION!
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