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Blackberry Smoke at the Fillmore Detroit, 5 Things To Know
Blackberry Smoke frontman Charlie Starr says that he enjoyed the Southern rock group‚Äôs last two album cycles ‚Äúimmensely.‚ÄĚ And with good reason.
Both of the Atlanta quintet‚Äôs most recent titles, 2015‚Äôs ‚ÄúHolding All The Roses‚ÄĚ and 2016‚Äôs ‚ÄúLike An Arrow,‚ÄĚ debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Rock and Country Albums charts. That gives the group confidence for the upcoming ‚ÄúFind A Light,‚ÄĚ which is due out on April 6.
The set finds Blackberry Smoke‚Äôs members again producing themselves, while a corps of guests -- Robert Randolph, the Wood Brothers and Amanda Shires -- appear on a few tracks. Response to pre-release tracks such as ‚ÄúFlesh And Bone,‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúBest Seat In The House‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúLet Me Down Easy‚ÄĚ have been positive, giving reason to believe that where there‚Äôs Smoke, there‚Äôs still going to be some fire...
‚ÄĘ Starr says that Blackberry Smoke approached ‚ÄúFind A Light‚ÄĚ much like its predecessors. ‚ÄúThere was no grand design,‚ÄĚ he notes by phone. ‚ÄúWe tour most of the year and then I write a batch of songs, and if they‚Äôre good enough we go record ‚Äėem. It‚Äôs generally the way that it happens with us these days. That‚Äôs a simple way to do think about doing it, and it‚Äôs pretty efficient.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ ‚ÄúFind A Light‚ÄĚ also showcases Blackberry Smoke‚Äôs stylistic diversity, from heavy rock to gentle balladry and twangy country. ‚ÄúWe really enjoy an endless amount of freedom,‚ÄĚ Starr says. ‚ÄúI think all of our records are pretty varied and they get more and more so with each record. I think we‚Äôre sort of challenging ourselves, like ‚ÄėHey, let‚Äôs do something that‚Äôs more like this‚Äô or ‚ÄėLet‚Äôs do something that‚Äôs less like this‚Äô or ‚ÄėWhat if we went this far with it?‚Äô There‚Äôs nothing better than being able to do what you want, musically. I have friends that don‚Äôt enjoy that freedom, and it must really suck.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ Starr wrote several songs for the album with former Buckcherry guitarist Keith Nelson. ‚ÄúHe and I have been friends maybe 25 years and we‚Äôve never worked together before in that regard. We‚Äôve just been friendly for years,‚ÄĚ Starr says. ‚ÄúHe called one day and just said, ‚ÄėHey, you want to write some songs?‚Äô and I thought, ‚ÄėOK, that‚Äôs something we‚Äôve not done but, hey, let‚Äôs do it.‚Äô And before I knew it we had written five, six songs. It was very inspiring for me.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ As the album‚Äôs title suggests, ‚ÄúFind A Light‚Äôs‚ÄĚ songs have a loose theme of people looking for hope during hard times. ‚ÄúThe majority of the songs seemed to be a little more optimistic than the last album -- I don‚Äôt know why, in this climate, ‚Äėcause it definitely seems more desperate now than ever in my life,‚ÄĚ Starr says. ‚ÄúBut maybe that‚Äôs it; Maybe what everyone needs is a little more optimism.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ Starr adds that as time has gone on Blackberry Smoke has gotten better at separating the recording process from its live work. ‚ÄúSome people don‚Äôt understand that it is two completely different things,‚ÄĚ Starr explains. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve made a couple records where we just set up and played live and that‚Äôs cool, but how many times can you do that? It‚Äôs like, ‚ÄėOK, do we want to do that again or create something that has more to hear, more to listen to?‚Äô Somebody once said one of our records was overproduced, and I was like, ‚ÄėThat‚Äôs because we produced more sound. We gave you more to listen to.‚ÄĚ
If You Go
‚ÄĘ Blackberry Smoke and Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown
‚ÄĘ Saturday, March 10. Doors open at 7 p.m.
‚ÄĘ The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave..
‚ÄĘ Tickets are $20-$49.50.
‚ÄĘ Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.
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