BLACKBERRY SMOKE – Be Right Here (2024) *HQ*

BLACKBERRY SMOKE - Be Right Here (2024) - full

Hailed as “the reigning heavyweight champions of Southern rock”, Atlanta-based quintet BLACKBERRY SMOKE is back with their 8th studio album, ”Be Right Here”, produced by Dave Cobb. “Be Right Here” follows 2021’s ‘You Hear Georgia’, which entered at #7 on the Billboard Rock Albums chart and #4 on the Billboard Top Albums chart.
Many try to reproduce that holy grail, golden-era of classic rock sound through their six-string escapades, yet only a handful ultimately succeed. One such band who succeeds in spades is Blackberry Smoke, whose their upcoming album “Be Right Here” serves up 10 tracks of pure rock ‘n’ roll bliss.
In true Blackberry Smoke fashion, the band masterfully weaves through genre, with everything from bluesy anthems about overcoming preconceived notions to life lessons wrapped in heartfelt Americana.

”Be Right Here” was recorded in late 2022 and early 2023, during a time in which drummer Brit Turner – who remains a fully active member of the band – was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a type iof brain tumour. The band (Starr and Turner, plus bassist Richard Turner, guitarist Paul Jackson and keyboardist Brandon Still) are joined on the album by touring members Preston Holcomb and Benji Shanks, plus guest vocalists The Black Bettys.

Nicely raw and bluesy, Dig A Hole kicks the album off with a laid-back groove that harks back to the Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker album. With its wah-soaked guitar, rippling percussion, and earthy vocals, it draws the listener in, before the band kick into a honeyed chorus that’s pure Allman Brothers. The band maintain that wonderfully laid-back vibe on Hammer And Nail, which has a nagging groove beneath its southern fried melody. As is to be expected, there are plenty of great melodies on the expansive chorus, and it’s one of those songs that you just know audiences will be singing out when the band hit the road.

It’s back to Black Crowes territory for the swaggering blues rock of Like It Was yesterday, another song that is already daring you not to sing along by the time the chorus swings around. More surprising is the mild psychedelia of Be So Lucky, which takes the Beatles as its starting point, albeit filtered through a Southern lens, and the result is a solid psyche-pop effort that shows the band flexing their creative muscles a little. The album’s first half concludes with the acoustic shuffle of Azalea, lovely piece that benefits immensely from the restrained percussion and gently picked acoustic guitar.

After the calming conclusion of the ‘first side’, Blackberry Smoke kick off the second side with the crunchy rocker (and album highlight), Don’t Mind If I Do, which not only kicks like an enraged mule, but is guaranteed to get the dancefloor rocking.
Next up, the slinky Watchu No Good has a blues rock vibe reminiscent of the late, great J J Cale, especially in the delivery of the vocals. The acoustics come out again on the sweet country piece Other Side Of The Light, which offers some wonderfully understated slide guitar.

Another album highlight emerges with Little Bit Crazy, which takes elements of gospel and elements of The Rolling Stones circa Exile On Mainstreet to deliver a brilliantly bluesy rocker, with plenty of soul, offset with just enough attitude to make things swing. It’s a cracking track, just as the album reaches its conclusion – with the alt country of Barefoot Angel. A warm ballad, delivered with panache and with elements of Allman Brothers and latter-day Soul Asylum written in to its DNA, it’s a fine closer, and it leaves you ready to listen all over again.

A short, snappy album, ”Be Right Here” is varied enough to remain engaging, while the band have the experience to ensure that no tune outstays its welcome. The result is a beautifully recorded album full of Southern Charm and whether you dig blues, country, or just good old rock ‘n’ roll, you’re going to have a good time with this record. Highly Recommended


1. Dig A Hole
02. Hammer And The Nail
03. Like It Was Yesterday
04. Be So Lucky
05. Azalea
06. Don’t Mind If I Do
07. Whatcha Know Good
08. Other Side Of The Light
09. Little Bit Crazy
10. Barefoot Angel

Charlie Starr – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Paul Jackson – Guitar, Vocals
Richard Turner – Bass, Vocals
Brandon Still – Keyboards
Brit Turner – Drums, Percussion


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