Review + photos by L Paul Mann
April 7, 2016 – Santa Ynez, CA – Blackberry Smoke hailing from Atlanta, 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 Thursday night, April 7th featured the bands 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 bands sound crew took full advantage of the awesome Samala sound system, providing excellent results. The band moved through all the different sounds that make up the broad spectrum of Southern rock. The group paid tribute to their country roots with a moving cover of 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 bands own song, “Sleeping Dogs”. The group even played some bluesy tunes. A quick check of setlist.fm shows the band mixes up their set every time they play, making every concert they perform a unique one.
The band played “Rock and Roll Again,” off their, “Holding All the Roses album,” and they followed it up with “Good One Comin’ On,” one of the show’s sing-a-longs. This ushered in the traditional opening of the front of the stage and fans swarmed the band, trying to catch some of 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. Blackberry Smoke’s 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 Govt. Mule on a cross country tour.
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