Blackberry Smoke plays the Marcus King Band Reunion
Blackberry Smoke has never been a band that stands still. Whether pursuing the dream by logging hundreds of thousands of miles on America’s highways and abroad or relentlessly exploring the many facets of its most unique art form, the Atlanta quintet is always on the move.
The songs on Blackberry Smoke’s sixth album, “Like an Arrow,” due Oct. 14, show just how far this American rock band has come. The band will be playing from the album at The Marcus King Band Reunion Oct. 6 at Pisgah Brewing.
“We’re all like-minded in that we all want to explore,” singer and principal songwriter Charlie Starr said. “There’s just no way we could make the same record over and over again, though there are some fans who would like us to. That’s just way too formulaic. If the Beatles or Led Zeppelin did that, we wouldn’t love them as much.”
“Like An Arrow” kicks off with the band’s heaviest song to date and explores British rock before moving on to musical stops in places like Macon, Woodstock, Muscle Shoals and Tulsa. Starr and his buddies follow the ramblin’ examples of timeless acts like The Allman Brothers Band, JJ Cale, The Band and others.
“We just want the sound of the band to continue to grow and broaden. We’re not trying to make a hip-hop record,” Starr said. “But there’s so many elements to what people call rock. There’s gospel and country and swing and blues. We’re just trying to write songs that include all those different types of elements. It keeps it interesting for musicians and songwriters. You think, ‘Well, I don’t have a straitjacket on, I haven’t painted myself into a corner, so I can try and just make the most of this art form.’”
That’s what Starr, Paul Jackson (guitar), Brandon Still (keyboards), Brit Turner (drums) and Richard Turner (bass) have been doing for 16 years since forming in 2001. The quintet’s blue-collar work ethic, road-dog attitude – the band averages 250 shows a year – and willingness to jam all night have left Blackberry Smoke with a grassroots fan base.
Its album “Holding All the Roses,” produced by Grammy Award winner Brendan O’Brien, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and No. 7 on the Rock Albums chart, proof of the band’s universality. It was praised by fellow artists as diverse as Dierks Bentley and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.