Blackberry Smoke: Leave A Scar: Live In North Carolina

Southern rock nouveau.

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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.