Origin: Atlanta. Georgia
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Building on the Lynyrd Skynyrd Southern rock template, with a good dose of outlaw honky tonk country and a little bit of bluegrass, gospel, and R&B mixed in, Blackberry Smoke (singer/guitarist Charlie Starr, guitarist/singer Paul Jackson, bassist/singer Richard Turner, keyboardist Brandon Still, and drummer Brit Turner) formed in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2000 and quickly built a loyal fan base on the Southern tour circuit, opening for top-tier acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, the Zac Brown Band, George Jones, and others. The group released a debut album, Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime, in 2004 on Cock of the Walk Records, then followed it with the self-released EP New Honky Tonk Bootlegs in 2008. A second EP, Little Piece of Dixie, appeared from Big Karma Records that same year. A full-length album, this one also called Little Piece of Dixie, was released in 2009 by BamaJam Records. The band then signed with Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Records, which released The Whippoorwill in 2012. The Whippoorwill was picked up by Earache, who formally signed the band in 2013. A deluxe live audio and video package entitled Leave a Scar: Live North Carolina was issued in the summer of 2014.
Later that year, BS left Brown’s label and signed a deal with Rounder in the U.S. (Earache remained their European label). Taking a short break from touring, they entered the studio with producer Brendan O’Brien (Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC) and emerged less than two weeks later with Holding All the Roses, then went straight back to working on the road. The album was issued in February of 2015.
“A lot of country now is leaning more toward rock and a Southern rock feel. But of every artist I can think of in recent memory that has been called ‘Southern rock,’ the most authentic one I heard is Blackberry Smoke,” Tom Keifer(Cinderella) tells Rolling Stone Country. “I remember hearing them the first time and thinking, ‘This is the real deal.’ It felt as real to me as the Allmans or Skynyrd.”