Blackberry Smoke is on tour, and coming to Iron City on February 4th. The band is supporting their latest album, Like an Arrow, released back in October. Hailing from the Atlanta suburbs, Blackberry Smoke's brand of Southern rock harkens back to the golden days of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Allman Bros. Band (Greg Allman actually makes a guest appearance on the album's track "Free on the Wing"). They are the real deal, looking the part, talking the talk, and representing the music they love, all while add their fresh perspective.
We got a chance to chat with guitarist, and frontman, Charlie Starr, to talk a bit about the band's history, and their approach to writing songs, making albums, and playing live. make sure to get your tickets NOW. This show always sells out!
Bhamrocks-How did you guys meet & at what point did you realize you would form a band?
Charlie Starr- We met at different bars in Atlanta, playing in different bands and whatnot. Brit, Richard and I started playing together first around 1998. Later on we recruited Paul (who I’d known since just out of high school) and Brandon, who was the last piece of the puzzle.
BR-Are any of you married with families of your own? How do they cope w/ your always being on the road?
CS-We are (except for Brandon). It can be tough, you just have to make the most of it, you know. Make it work.
BR-How does the band plan the set lists for every show?
CS-I write them in the afternoon of a show day, usually. We try to change it up a good bit every night. That makes it more interesting for us and the fans. I see people who do the exact same show, say the same things between songs, etc.
That seems a little stale to me.
BR-Can fans expect to hear mostly songs from your new album "Like An Arrow" on your current tour?
CS-We’ll play a lot of them, sure, but every show will be a mixed bag of songs from every album.
BR-"Like and Arrow" was produced by the band, something the band hadn't done since 2012's "The Wippoorwill”. What are pros and cons of working with a producer vs. producing on your own?
CS-I guess the “pro” is not having anyone to disagree with decisions about how something should sound or how a song should be arranged or things like that…BUT, that might actually be a “con” in some cases because, being in the band, you might be a little too close to the material to be critical. It’s a toss up, I guess. I feel like we did a good job on this one.
BR-After being a part of your live set for a decade what made you guys finally put "Sunrise In Texas" on this album?
CS-We’ve actually recorded it a couple of times previously, but for whatever reason it never made it on an album. This time it turned out so well it just couldn’t be denied, I guess.
BR-Do you write your music & lyrics collaboratively as a band? What's that process?
CS-I write most everything. Brandon and I collaborated on “Free On The Wing.” Seems that most bands have one or two guys that just write a lot of songs. I write some on the road, but not much. It can be tough with all the distractions of day to day life out there. So, mostly the songs get finished when I’m at home.
BR -Is there a particular show that stands out in your memory you would consider one of your best shows?
CS-Each year we come home to Atlanta and play a holiday show. I think those usually wind up being the best ones. There’s just so much positive energy.
BR-What's the craziest thing that's ever happened on tour?
CS-Too many to pick from.
BR -When you aren't touring what are some other things you enjoy?
CS-I like books and records, spending time with my wife and sons. I have a vintage camper so when the weather is good, we take it to the mountains.
BR-If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
I bet everyone you ask says the power of flight so I’m not gonna say that. I’m gonna go with Apache Chief’s power, to grow extremely huge at will. I have no idea why.
Blackberry Smoke performs live at Iron City on February 4th, with The Steel Woods.
Tickets can be purchased here, advance $33.00 and at the door for $35.00.
The show is all ages.