Blackberry Smoke - The Southern Ground Sessions EP review

Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke return with a six-track acoustic EP

Blackberry Smoke - The Southern Ground Sessions

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Blackberry Smoke - The Southern Ground Sessions

Blackberry Smoke - The Southern Ground Sessions

1. Run Away from It All
2. Medicate My Mind
3. Let Me Down Easy
4. Best Seat in the House
5. You Got Lucky
6. Mother Mountain 

It’s become common practice for artists with a loyal following to lure them into buying an album twice by reissuing it months later as an ‘expanded’, ‘deluxe’ edition. Blackberry Smoke have at least tried something a bit different, releasing an EP of five acoustic re-recordings of tracks from April’s Find A Light plus a cover of Tom Petty’s You Got Lucky, all recorded live in the studio in the titular Nashville facility. 

Apart from the laughs and expressions of approval bookending the takes, though, not much is new, and it’s not always for the better. Medicate My Mind benefits from a slightly slower, groovier tempo, but in other cases these undeniably strong, simple songs sound much the same without electric guitars. 

You can barely hear Amanda Shires’ silvery harmonies on Let Me Down Easy, and the lush 12-string guitars of Mother Mountain sound rougher in a demo way rather than offering extra organic edge. 

Grounded, then, but also a little earthbound.

Blackberry Smoke Tour Dates

Oct 27: Weert Bosuil, NL
Oct 28: Amsterdam Melkweg, NL
Oct 29: Brussels Ancienne, BE
Oct 31: Paris Le Cabaret Sauvage, FR
Nov 02: Newcastle O2 Academy, UK
Nov 03: Glasgow O2 Academy, UK
Nov 04: Nottingham Rock City, UK
Nov 06: Belfast The Telegraph Building, UK:  
Nov 07: Dublin, National Stadium, IE
Nov 09: Cardiff Tramshed, UK  
Nov 10: Birmingham O2 Academy, UK
Nov 11: Bristol O2 Academy, UK:  
Nov 13: Southampton Guildhall, UK
Nov 15: London Shepherd's Bush Empire, UK
Nov 16: London Shepherd's Bush Empire, UK
Nov 17: Manchester O2 Apollo, UK

Tickets are on sale now

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock