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Still Smokin’ After all These Years, Blackberry Smoke Celebrates 20 Years of Making Music

Photos and Review by Ralph Fitzgerald/PCN Magazine Editor-In-Chief for North America

Thornburg, Virginia  USA 3.7.21– As the sun was setting, concert goers streamed through the gates to either find their seats or set up their chairs on the race track preparing to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with a big bang as Blackberry Smoke brought their ‘Back On Our Bullshit Tour’ to Dominion Raceway for an evening of good old southern rock n roll.

With the roar of the guitars, banging of the drums and the detonation of lights and sound, Blackberry Smoke made their presence known as they kicked off the evening with some good old musical fireworks as they opened up their set with “Payback’s A Bitch”. They continued their bullshit with “Like I Am”, “Good One Comin’ On”, “Live It Down”, “Pretty Little Lye”, “Waiting For The Thunder”, “Let It Burn”, “Best Set In The House”, “Hey Delilah”, “Sleeping Dogs”, “Ain’t The Same”, “Rock and Roll Again”, “You Hear Georgia”, “Lay It All On Me”, “Ain’t Got The Blues”, “Run Away From It All”, “Sunrise In Texas” (Michael Tolcher cover), “One Horse Town”, and “Old Scarecrow”. They then ended the nightwith an encore of “All Rise Again” and Ain’t Much Left of Me”.

As Blackberry Smoke began playing “One Horse Town”, lead guitarist Charlie Starr grabbed the mic from the stand and went to the front of the stage pointing the mic toward audience as they began singing the first verse in unison with the band. Starr’s facial expression was priceless, with a smile from ear to ear beaming with joy as they sang away.

Moments later, Starr was introducing the members of Blackberry Smoke as he said the first time he met guitarist Paul Jackson, his story went something like this: Back in the late 90’s, Starr and a couple of members of his band went down to the bar where Paul’s band was playing, because they heard that every woman in three counties were going to be at the bar. When they got there the dance floor was packed with women as Paul and his brothers with their long pretty hair were playing “Hot Child in the City” (by Nick Gilder). Starr then started playing the song on his guitar. Starr then said, “I turned to my brother and said we got to learn that song cause no one is dancing to Aerosmith!” The audience responded with an enormous roar of laugher.

During the encores the audience was on their feet, singing along with the band, especially for the final song of the night, Ain’t Much Left of Me”. As Blackberry Smoke began the song, the audience reacted with a thundering round of cheers and applause. The evening was a complete celebration of Blackberry Smoke’s style of southern rock on the Fourth of July weekend.

Blackberry Smoke hails from Atlanta, Georgia and has been entertaining crowds for the past 20 years. They began as a four man band with their first album “Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime” (2003) to the present as a seven piece with their current album “You Hear Georgia” (2021).

Blackberry Smoke is: Charlie Starr – guitar and lead vocals, Paul Jackson – guitar and vocals, Richard Turner – bass and vocals, Brit Turner – drums, Brandon Still – keyboards, Benji Shanks – guitar and Preston Holcomb –  percussion.

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