Lead vocalist and guitarist of Blackberry Smoke, Charlie Star, exudes deep country soul on stage. (Steve Kennedy photo)

If you like your rock music southern fried, down and dirty and seasoned with strong country flavor, then Blackberry Smoke is the band for you. The Samala Showroom at the Chumash Casino Resort in beautiful Santa Ynez, Calif., played host to the southern rockers Thursday, April 7, 2016. 

Formed and based out of Atlanta, Ga., this band of outlaws decided to head west and make California the center point of this leg of their tour.

The band hit the stage with a blistering opener “Fire in the Hole” and never looked back.  

The evening featured hard hitting rock songs crafted in the spirit of greats like Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band.

During the mid-point of the set, Blackberry Smoke started to steer into a decidedly country tone with inspired ballads and a tribute to recently passed away legend Merle Haggard.  

The band then punched the gas pedal and trucked the show to a rousing finish with great encore songs “No Way Back to Eden” and “Ain’t Much Left of Me.”

The band is centered around Charlie Star, the lead vocalist and guitar player. His ability to cover hard charging leads, coupled with deep country soul, helps give Blackberry Smoke the style and fire to be called one of the best southern rock bands in the country.  

Playing upwards of 250 shows a year, 2016 will give fans across the U.S. plenty of chances to get to see them jam.  

Their natural on stage chemistry can be seen opening up for Warren Haynes’s Gov’t Mule starting in August. Also on tap is a trip to Europe in the fall.

Blackberry Smoke pays homage to recently deceased singer-songwriter Merle Haggard.

Blackberry Smoke pays homage to recently deceased singer-songwriter Merle Haggard. (Steve Kennedy photo)