Skip to main content

Blackberry Smoke: Leave A Scar: Live In North Carolina

Southern rock nouveau.

If you dropped Blackberry Smoke’s lyrics into a database and generated a tag cloud, you’d find it bulging with words like ‘sin’, ‘whisky’ and ‘devil’. For like so many of their Southern Rock colleagues, the Smoke run the full gamut of southern concerns: church, alcohol, more church, more alcohol, and – just occasionally – something else altogether.

Given this limited palette, you might expect the band’s first live album to be a one-dimensional affair, but it truly isn’t. For Leave A Scar throbs with big rock tunes and equally big rock choruses, from the thumping Six Ways To Sunday to Up In Smoke, with its stop, start, leave-room-for-the- audience chorus.

The pounding Ain’t Much Left Of Me sashays effortlessly into a cover of When The Levee Breaks, while The Whippoorwill is one of the great gospel-country-rock crossover ballads of recent years (see also: Rival Sons’ Jordan and John Fullbright’s Jericho).

There’s a party vibe in the house, and it feels like a cross between an intoxicating night out at a disreputable roadhouse bar and a rousing, righteous Sunday morning service. Which, given the tunes on show, was probably the idea. Praise the Lord.

Fraser Lewry
Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. 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.