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Two upcoming albums keep Blackberry Smoke on fire

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Blackberry Smoke has dubbed its latest road trip the Fire in the Hole Tour. And rest assured the Southern rock group from Atlanta has plenty of fires going these days.

The quartet -- whose last album, "The Whippoorwill," hit No. 8 on the Billboard country charts -- is eyeballing two releases this year. One is a live set recorded in Winston-Salem, N.C., that frontman Charlie Starr says will be out "very soon." And come spring the group hopes to hit the studio to start working on its fourth album.

"We're already in the planning stages," reports Starr, 39. "The songs are ready; we just have to block out a little time. There are some pretty heavy songs and then some pretty laid-back, back-porchy, acoustic type of songs. I kinda liken it to 'Led Zeppelin III;' We're not Led Zeppelin, but it'll have that kind of mix.

"It'll probably be another situation like 'The Whippoorwill,' where we don't have a whole lot of time to get too comfortable. But we're excited. It's always exciting to get all the ducks in a row and make some new music."

Blackberry Smoke, meanwhile, is also enjoying its association with Detroit's Carhartt clothing manufacturer, which makes a special jacket and beanie hat for the group's merchandise offerings. Starr says the tie-in came from "just a conversation. There was no grand plan to form a partnership with Carhartt or anything. They had some guys who just came to shows and liked the band, and then they had some idea for some Made in the United States type of products.

"We're pretty dedicated to that idea. We try pretty hard to keep all of our merchandise made in the USA, which can be difficult. But Carhartt knows how to do it, so it seemed like a nice fit, and so far so good."

Blackberry Smoke and the Delta Saints perform Saturday, Jan. 25, at Saint Andrews Hall, 431 E. Congress St., Detroit. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18. Call 313-961-6358 or visit www.saintandrewsdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.saintandrewsdetroit.com

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