Blackberry Smoke (from the album Like an Arrow)
Classic Rock gets put into a ghetto. When the style was the new kid format, what defined the sound was the way the songs were put together, the sampling of rock’n’roll, Blues, Soul, Country, and Folk. Southern Rock followed the same path, stretching out the music’s potential by expanding the songs into long, sweeping jams. Blackberry Smoke freely borrow from the same use of song structure., using touches and textures from the past as part of the fuel that turns the engine on Like an Arrow, the most recent release from the Atlanta, Georgia-based band. The title track rises up on clouds of sound pushed around by snapping guitar licks and well-rounded midway organ chords as Blackberry Smoke take a blue-collar hammer to the beat for “Workin’ for a Workin’ Man”, shake a funky rattle for the warnings of “Believe You Me”, and slash guitar chords into a darkening sky to compete with the lightning flashes of “Waiting for the Thunder”.
Rather than defining the borders, Blackberry Smoke set styles free in their music. Soul speaks in the vocals of “Ain’t Gonna Wait” as the band gather around for a front porch jam while a Rock boogie leaves tire marks on the highway as “Let It Burn” hits the road out of town and “Sunrise in Texas” warms slowly as instruments wander in to stoke its fire. A molasses groove stomps out an invitation to do “What Comes Naturally” with Like an Arrow as “The Good Life” fills memories with love and pride while Blackberry Smoke make judgments on a hardened beat in “Ought to Know”, and welcome first generation Southern Rock into “Free on the Wing” with melody, harmonies, rhythm, and Gregg Allman on vocals.