It’s been a while – three long years since Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke graced us with a studio album. Their last offering, the critically acclaimed homage to their home state, ‘You Hear Georgia,’ left fans eagerly anticipating their next move. So, when Charlie Starr and his bandmates extended an invitation to join them on their eighth studio album journey since their inception in 2001 with ‘Be Right Here,’ I couldn’t resist.
Under the guidance of producer Dave Cobb, the quintet, joined by guest musicians Preston Holcomb and Benji Shanks, alongside the harmonious backing vocals of The Black Bettys, delivers an experience that embodies the essence of Southern rock.
Kicking off with the lead single, “Dig A Hole,” Blackberry Smoke sets the tone with a laid-back groove and introspective lyrics, inviting listeners to ponder life’s choices. The album progresses with tracks like “Hammer And The Nail,” a spirited anthem exploring the tug-of-war between tradition and rebellion, and “Like it Was Yesterday,” a bluesy reflection on cherishing life’s fleeting moments.
Songs like Don’t Mind If I Do offer a soulful exploration of envy and fate, while “Azalea” delves into themes of longing and redemption with a folk-inspired balladry. Amidst the rockers and ballads, Blackberry Smoke showcases their versatility with tracks like “Don’t Mind If I Do offering a blend of rollicking energy and introspective storytelling.
The album’s journey culminates in “Barefoot Angel,” a heartfelt power ballad expressing gratitude and devotion, leaving listeners with a sense of warmth and appreciation.
Overall, ‘Be Right Here’ is a testament to Blackberry Smoke’s enduring craftsmanship and storytelling prowess. Each track is a finely crafted narrative, accompanied by rich musical textures that range from foot-stomping anthems to soul-stirring ballads. It’s a testament to the band’s ability to capture the essence of Southern life and translate it into unforgettable melodies.
As the album draws to a close, it’s evident that the wait was worth it. ‘Be Right Here’ stands as a testament to Blackberry Smoke’s unwavering commitment to their craft and their ability to transport listeners on a journey through the heart of Southern rock.
1. Dig A Hole
2. Hammer And The Nail
3. Like It Was Yesterday
4. Be So Lucky
6. Don’t Mind If I Do
7. Whatcha Know Good
8. Other Side of the Light
9. Little Bit Crazy
10. Barefoot Angel