As I stepped out of the cab I was met by my friends Brit Turner (drums) and Charlie Starr (lead vocalist/guitars) of Blackberry Smoke. After exchanging hellos and catching up on everything I was introduced to their "road guru" David. David kept me entertained with some amazing stories from his time on the road with Blackberry Smoke.
I than made my way up to Mercy Lounge to scope out the venue. The club features a good sized stage where the crowd is at eye level with the performers. The high ceilings and hardwood architecture really compliment the top notch PA system. The club is by far one of the best to catch a live show that I've ever been in as far as sound and the fact that there isn't a bad view in the house. I must also mention that everyone who works at Mercy Lounge are very friendly and accomidating. A top notch venue all the way around!!
Looking back, I can't think of a better way to ring in my birthday than by catching my buds in Blackberry Smoke tearing it up on stage. It was one helluva night to say the least and it began with former Shooter Jennings & The .357's guitarist Leroy Powell along with his band "The Messengers" opening up. Here is my review........
I've been a HUGE fan of Shooter Jennings since his days in Stargunn so I was more than aware of Leroy Powell but had no idea how he was as a solo artist. Was I ever in for a pleasant surprise. Backing up Leroy in "The Messengers" is Dean Tomasek on Bass & Scott Easley on Drums. The hard rockin' power trio hit the stage just after 8pm and delivered an hour long high energy set of Southern flavored rock ranging from ZZ Top-esque down n' dirty boogie to Jimi Hendrix inspired psychedelia. I'll definitely be keeping a closer eye on Leroy's solo career as well as purchasing his previous solo albums but first I must emmerse myself with his latest album with The Messengers entitled "Atlantis". Look for a review of it next week, until than check out Leroy at http://www.leroypowell.com
I've been an avid follower of Blackberry Smoke since being introduced to them via an interview with Jesse James Dupree of Jackyl back in 2002. After many failed attempts at catching them live, I finally was able to see them when they opened up for ZZ Top in Wichita Kansas in September 2008. They surpassed my expectations that night! Fast forward to May 13th, 2010, and the fact that they would be playing into my birthday (14th) made the show that much better. It also marked the first time I'd seen them since Brandon Still came into the band to play piano and keyboards. I wasn't sure if a piano would positive or negative addition to the already stout brew that is Blackberry Smoke but I left loving what Brandon has added to the mix!
Blackberry Smoke hit the stage rippin' through a raucous version of the Bluegrass classic "Memphis Special" and rarely let up through the 17 song/90 minute set. The set included two newly written tracks, "One Horse Town" and "Everybody Knows She's Mine". They also did a cover of Willie Nelson's "Yesterday's Wine" which the band recently hit the studio with Jamey Johnson and George Jones to record for their upcoming re-re-release of their sophomore album 'Little piece Of Dixie', due out June 9th on BamaJam Records. A few of the highlights of the set for me was their medley of "Let A Sleeping Dog Lie" and the Allman Brothers classic "Midnight Rider", their rev'd up rendition of "Man Of Constant Sorrow" and the inclusion of, as I like to call it, MY LIFE STORY with "Son Of A Bourbon". I can never get enough of that song and it is that much better live!
The band are true road dogs. They average at least 200 shows a year around the globe. They're musically as tight as they come yet bust out some amazing free-form jams throughout their set. The past two weeks, their first single from their new album, "Good One Comin' On" has been the #1 on video on CMT's Pure 12 Pack Countdown. The fact these cats can write some amazing tunes and are not afraid to work their asses off for their love of music only insures this will be the first of many #1's to come their way.
Like I Am
I'd Be Lyin'
Good One Comin' On
One Horse Town
Bottom Of This
Let A Sleeping Dog Lie/Midnight Rider
Up In Smoke
Ain't Much Left Of Me
Everybody Knows She's Mine
Son Of A Bourbon
In A Livin' Hell
Man Of Constant Sorrow
BLACKBERRY SMOKE IS A BAND NOT TO BE MISSED!!
BLACKBERRY SMOKE IS A BAND NOT TO BE MISSED!!
Look for Part Two of "My Nashville Vacation" Coming Up with all the news from the Richie Kotzen Guitar Clinic, RK concert, and my first time meeting Richie Kotzen with a 'special appearance' by JOHN CORABI!