Essential New Music: Blackberry Smoke’s “Like An Arrow”

blackberrysmoke

Southern-rock stylists Blackberry Smoke aren’t patronizing bro-country dudes stumping for radio airplay. They’re smart, good ol’ boys playing classic music in authentic, if somewhat familiar, fashion. The templates are pretty obvious: Skynyrd, ZZ Top, the Allman Brothers Band, et al. To that point, the band has been touring with ZZ Top of late, and patron saint Gregg Allman sings on this new album.

Road dogs and veteran recording artists, the members of Blackberry Smoke have been honing their craft since 2001, touring incessantly and putting out five quality discs before Like An Arrow. Credit lead singer/chief songwriter Charlie Starr for the band’s straightforward identity and recognizable sound. Boasting a standard lineup of two guitars, keyboards, bass and drums, they whip out churning rock tunes with burning guitars and solid hooks, switch things up with softer, melodic ballads, and evoke the glory days of Southern rock with impressive ease.

—Mitch Myers