April 2, 2018 Blackberry Smoke – Find A Light (Album Review)
Guided by the light of grassroots Southern Rock, the good ole boys of Blackberry Smoke – Guitarist/Vocalist Charlie Starr, Guitarist Paul Jackson, Bassist Richard Turner, Drummer Britt Turner, and Keyboardist Brandon Still – are back by route of their sixth overall studio album, Find A Light, set to be released on Friday, April 6, 2018, on Thirty Tigers.
Birthed nearly eighteen years ago, Blackberry Smoke’s prideful sound is a blueprint of pure American Rock-n-Roll, full of life, and evocative of fellow Georgia natives, The Black Crowes. Setting a trail for success, along the way, Blackberry Smoke amassed a string of hit records, including 2015’s Holding All The Roses and 2016’s Like an Arrow, both of which climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard U.S. Country chart.
Creative juices flowing, Blackberry Smoke wasted no time leaping back into the studio to follow-up to the aforementioned Like an Arrow, as Find A Light is a gem of an album, full of simplistic and liberating Rock tunes about being burdened by the stressful side of life. Making it more special, Find A Light touches on the heavier side of Blackberry Smoke, and even features some very special guests who put their own stamp on the album.
Diving right in, “Flesh and Bone” is a fine example of Blackberry Smoke adding a slightly heftier edge to their sound, with a steady nature, the song implores we are all only human. Possibly the most well-written number on Find A Light, “Run Away From It All” possesses a freeing feeling about getting away and finding salvation, it is the perfect song for hanging out in a roadside bar with a beer in hand. A Rocker, “The Crooked Kind” discovers the flip-side of a desired outcome before Blackberry Smoke take it down a bit, and introduce the breezier side of the album via “Medicate My Mind” and, a mellow tune about the love of music, “I’ve Got This Song.”
Checking in as the first guest to appear on Find A Light, Pedal Steel Guitarist Robert Randolph accompanies Blackberry Smoke on a riff happy, Southern Rock/Blues/Gospel jam called “I’ll Keep Ramblin’.” Maintaining Blackberry Smoke’s formula for great ballads, “Seems So Far” reflects on the past and present, saying no matter how fast life goes by, the end still feels miles away.
Searching for salvation, “Lord Strike Me Dead” precedes the guest appearance of award winning, Singer-Songwriter/Violinist Amanda Shires for the rich Country Music ballad “Let Me Down Easy (Feat. Amanda Shires)”. If you think too highly of yourself, the Blues-Rocker, “Nobody Gives A Damn” will assuredly curb that ego before the after hours feel of “Til The Wheels Fall Off” rides into the night. Culminating to a sublime finish, “Mother Mountain,” delivers one last guest appearance as Folk trio, The Wood Brothers, assist Blackberry Smoke on a sweet number influenced by 1960s Folk Rock, this tune is a great way to close out a Blackberry Smoke record.
A breath of fresh air, Blackberry Smoke has carved out yet another fine piece of carefree Southern Rock-n-Roll with Find A Light. Regarding the bands newest effort, Starr commented, “The new album is a melting pot of Blackberry Smoke music with a wide range of sound and emotion. I think it’s our most inspired work yet.” Having said that, listeners will love how Starr’s indulgently sincere vocals complement the marvelously simplistic song-writing as it thrives surrounded by authentic subject matter relative to folks from all walks of life. With that, one thing is easily notable, Blackberry Smoke effortlessly hold all the right ingredients for cooking up true to heart Rock music.
In support of Find A Light, Blackberry Smoke launched a huge U.S. tour on March 8, 2018 in Traverse City, MI that will rock throughout the summer before coming to a head in September. Needless to say, fans of Blackberry Smoke will be looking forward to hearing some of this new music played live. Not only do Blackberry Smoke work hard on their music, the band are also great humanitarians, heavily involved with charitable work, they have raised $200,000 to benefit children’s cancer research. This is why, CrypticRock gives Find A Light
4.5 out of 5 stars.