Friday, March 23 , 2018, 11:40 am | Fair 59º


Paul Mann: Southern Rock Band Blackberry Smoke Plays Dynamic Set at Samala Showroom

A full crowd cheers on Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke. Click to view larger
A full crowd cheers on Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke. (L. Paul Mann photo)

Hailing from Atlanta, Blackberry Smoke brought a rock-drenched set of wailing guitar music to the Samala Showroom at the Chumash Casino Resort in the best tradition of classic southern rock.

The show (which took place Thursday night, April 7) featured the band’s original music, reminiscent of the best sounds in Southern rock, much like The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The group ventured into jam-band territory on several occasions and also played an inspiring acoustic set.

There are no weak links in this five piece group of veteran rockers. The lineup consists of Charlie Starr (lead vocals, guitar), Richard Turner (bass, vocals), Brit Turner (drums), Paul Jackson (guitar, vocals) and Brandon Still (keyboards).

The band’s sound crew took full advantage of the awesome Samala sound system, providing excellent results.

Blackberry Smoke moved through all the different sounds that make up the broad spectrum of Southern rock, even paying tribute to their country roots with a moving cover of a song by the recently departed Hank Williams, but the band showed they could play hard Rock just as well.

Keyboardist Still took the spotlight when the band played a Led Zeppelin cover woven into the middle of the band’s own song, “Sleeping Dogs.” The group even played some bluesy tunes.

A quick check of shows the band mixes up their set every time they play, making every concert they perform a unique one.

Guitarist Paul Jackson. Click to view larger
Guitarist Paul Jackson. (L. Paul Mann photo)

The band played “Rock and Roll Again” off their Holding All the Roses album and followed it up with “Good One Comin’ On,” one of the show’s sing-alongs. The song’s energy ushered in the traditional opening of the front of the stage, and fans swarmed the band, trying to catch some to the guitar picks being generously tossed by the guitarists.

The acoustic set included “Lay It All on Me” and “Ain’t Got the Blues” back to back. The set also included “One Horse Town,” “Holding All the Roses” and “Too High,” among others.

The group first played in Santa Barbara several years ago as a young opening band for the Zach Brown Band, and in fact, is signed to Brown’s record label. The band is on a tear of late, doing a bunch of their own headline dates, as well as opening for Gov’t Mule on a cross country tour.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributing writer. The opinions expressed are his own.

Lead vocalist and guitarist Charlie Starr during Blackberry Smoke’s acoustic set. Click to view larger
Lead vocalist and guitarist Charlie Starr during Blackberry Smoke’s acoustic set. (L. Paul Mann photo)
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