Blackberry Smoke: From Georgia to the world and beyond

blackberry smoke interview

In the heart of Georgia, amidst the sweltering heat and the rich history of the South, Blackberry Smoke emerged as a beacon of musical authenticity over two decades ago. With their upcoming album ‘Be Right Here’ set to release on February 16th, the band continues to captivate audiences worldwide, blending elements of rock, country, and Americana into a sound uniquely their own. 


Originating from Atlanta in 2001, Blackberry Smoke quickly garnered attention for their soul-stirring performances and heavy guitar lines. The band’s members, Charlie Starr, Paul Jackson, Richard Turner, Brandon Still, and Brit Turner, embody the spirit of Georgia through their music. From raucous rock anthems to introspective ballads, each song tells a story deeply intertwined with the landscapes and experiences of their home state. 


For now, we meet the band in Duke’s Highgate ahead of an intimate acoustic set by Starr and Jackson. It seems like nothing to them to perform, even in venues where they are almost toe-to-toe with the audience. By the end of the set, it’s clear to see why. The bar is packed, it’s almost impossible to move for the sheer amount of people, let alone get a drink. The crowd hoots at every introduction, sings along faithfully to every song they know and even the bands new releases are met with ear-bursting cheers.  


“We don’t ever go out and see bands at home anymore, but we still have tonnes of friends who play in and around town [Georgia]. But it’s different than it was when we started this band, which was 24 year ago.”. Starr tells us, it’s the truth, the band are ever on tour, making music and finding time to spend at home is increasingly hard. One of the band’s greatest strengths lies in their ability to seamlessly blend genres, creating a sound that defies categorisation. “The Southern US, that’s where all music coalesced, so we’ve never given any though to what we are either as far as putting a label on it. But we play what feels good, what feels natural to us, if we played something that felt unnatural, we’d be a shitty punk band,”, Jackson jokes, “I don’t think we would be a very good punk band,”, retorts Starr. The band are still as close knit as they ever were, describing their squabbles as “fighting between brothers” and it’s easy to see how. After spending 24 years working and travelling together, Blackberry Smoke are still as strong as ever, musically and personally.  


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Hannah Larvin, Editor, Maverick Magazine
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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