When Atlanta country-rock quintet Blackberry Smoke opened for Travis Tritt last month at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, frontman Charlie Starr joked about going to Kid Rock’s house and offering to mow his lawn if he’d let the group open for him.
The group didn’t handle any lawn gear, but it did visit — and wound up with spots on two of Rock’s weekend shows.
“We met (Rock) years ago at the Machine Shop (in Flint),” recalls Starr, 36. “He’s just a really nice guy and ... such a lover of music, all different kinds of music, just like we are.
“He left us an open invitation: ‘If it gets nice and warm, come out and jump in the pool.’ I’m sure it’ll be nice and hot up there since it seems to be nice and hot everywhere these days, so we’re gonna hold him to that.”
Meanwhile, Blackberry Smoke is generating a bit of heat for itself with its second album, “A Little Piece of Dixie,” which features the single “Good One Comin’ On” as well as a bonus version of Willie Nelson’s “Yesterday’s Wine” that features guests George Jones and Jamey Johnson.
“I love Jamey so much, and I just love whatever he does,” says Starr, who got the idea to cut the song while listening to a Jones-Merle Haggard version of it on the road. “I sent him a text message, ‘Hey man, we should get together and record a duet of ‘Yesterday’s Wine,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I would love to. That would be a ball.’
“So one thing led to another. I told the guys at our label about it, and they work with George and said, ‘How would you like for George Jones to sing on it, too?’ And I’m like, ‘Do you really need to ask?’ I didn’t believe it was gonna happen till he walked in the door ... but he did and we just about (soiled) ourselves. It was a great moment.”
Blackberry Smoke performs with Kid Rock and Ty Stone at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 13 and 14, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are sold out. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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