@PlanetMosh reviews The Whippoorwill by .@BlackberrySmoke out Feb 17th on @EaracheRecords
Ambling in from Atlanta Georgia, comes ‘The Whippoorwill’ from southern country-rockers, Blackberry Smoke. Released in the US back in 2012 to much acclaim, their third album is finally receiving an official European release from the powerhouse that is Earache Records. Earache have never been afraid to step outside their niche and with Blackberry Smoke, they may just have struck southern gold. ‘The Whippoorwill’ is a collection of 16 tracks (3 of which are a bonus on the EU release) that bleed the story of their creators. It’s happy, sad, mournful and celebratory, all poured into a bottle of hickory smoked Bourbon.
For many, opening track ‘Six Ways To Sunday’ will be their first introduction to Blackberry Smoke and frontman Charlie Starr. His gravelly tone is a warm as a humid sunset on the bayou and the wonderfully infectious nature of this song will instantly be the hook that catches the listener. ‘Pretty Little Lie’ feels like a song that’s been part of your life forever. It’s a characteristic of Blackberry Smoke’s charm that their songs are fresh and new, yet familiar. These are songs crafted from life and an eternity on the road, sold with an honesty that is lacking from much of modern music.
Album highlight, ‘One Horse Town’ exemplifies this fact with It’s realistic lyric; “I’m an old married man at the age of 23/Got 2 little boys on the baseball team/And that might be their only ticket out/All they got is a worn out name/And a daddy that could’ve gone all the way/But I hung my saddle up and I settled down”. A beautiful tune that paints the portrait of so people who could have lived the dream yet sacrificed said dream for their family. While a lot of the music on the album doffs a cap to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot, I can hear a nice subtle resemblance to Creedence Clearwater Revival. The honky tonk tinkling of ‘Everyone Knows She’s Mine’ contrasts with the ballsy gospel of ‘Ain’t Much Left Of Me’ before the title track shows a completely new façade to frontman Starr. His delivery on ‘The Whippoorwill’ is sorrowful and emotional and nestles atop a warming Hammond melody. It is a very personal story that invests the heart of the listener and rewards with repeated visits. The groove of ‘Sleeping Dogs’, the rock ‘n’ roll schmooze of ‘Shakin Hands with the Holy Ghost’ and the up tempo rockabilly foot stomper that is ‘Leave a Scar’ all cement the momentum of the album. “Crimson Moon” kicks in with a dirty swampy riff that begs to be blared on a motorcycle. ‘Up the Road’ closes the original release with balladry of prophetic ambiance and soulful choral backed melodies.
On this release, Blackberry Smoke have immersed us deep in the folklore of their homeland, bared their souls and delivered an album of relevant rock anthems. ‘The Whippoorwill’ is a musical rollercoaster of emotions bound together with warm southern comfort.
The Whippoorwill Tracklisting
1. Six Ways To Sunday
2. Pretty Little Lie
3. Everybody Knows She’s Mine
4. One Horse Town
5. Ain’t Much Left Of Me
6. The Whippoorwill
7. Lucky Seven
8. Leave a Scar
9. Crimson Moon
10. Ain’t Got The Blues
11. Sleeping Dogs
12. Shakin’ Hands With The Holy Ghost
13. Up The Road
14. Country Side of Life (Bonus Track)
15. Pretty Little Lie LIVE (Bonus Track)
16. Six Ways to Sunday LIVE (Bonus Track)
Richard Turner – Bass/Vocals
Paul Jackson – Guitar/Vocals
Brandon Still – Keys
Charlie Starr – Guitar/Vocals
Brit turner – Drums