Blackberry Smoke's Charlie Starr has some advice for songwriters

Charlie Starr
(Image credit: Kevin Nixon)

Charlie Starr, frontman with Atlanta rockers Blackberry Smoke – whose new studio album You Hear Georgia is out later this week – has spoken to Classic Rock about getting started in songwriting. 

Starr, who is interviewed in depth in the new issue of Classic Rock (out now) has revealed how he made the transition from singer to songwriter. 

"I was ready, but I had put in my ten-thousand hours in bars and honky-tonks around the South, singing songs. I don’t know at what point I was ready to be a songwriter guy. I think it happened when – and maybe it happens this way for lots of people – when you write a song that excites other people. 

"You can write a song and think, 'Is this good enough to show to three or four other guys in a band, and go "Hey, do you like this? Should we play this?"' but as soon as you see somebody else go, 'Yes, I love this,' then your confidence grows."

Starr continues: “Don’t try to write for the radio if you're a songwriter; write for yourself first and hope other people like it. You don’t want to be stuck with a song that you hate, and that you're ashamed of, just because you wanted a hit. There are so many songs that I'm just like, 'How can you sing that with a straight face?'  

"I'm not trying to get on a soapbox and talk about how it's 'art'. The music is, in its way, sacred to me. But it's rock'n'roll, it's meant to make you feel good, it's not to be feared."

You Hear Georgia is released on Friday, and is the follow-up to 2018’s Find A LightThe album is available to pre-order now, with bundles and limited edition vinyl available from Eyesore

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.