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Blackberry Smoke

Find a Light – 2018 (Thirty Tigers)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke will never fit the mold of a mainstream country act the way, say, Midland has done. They love to rock way too much to ever tamp it down permanently. And the aptly named "The Crooked Kind" follows a rollicking, rock & roll path that feels like just the right road. With that said, though, there are moments during "Find A Light" where Blackberry Smoke softens the sonic nicely and naturally.

"Medicate My Mind," for instance, rocks to a likeable, gentle groove. But the album's truly revelatory song is "I've Got This Song." Lead vocalist Charlie Starr sings the tune's vulnerable lyric over a sweetly swaying acoustic guitar groove, beautifully augmented by violin accompaniment. The track also features a lovely steel guitar solo. "This song" referred to in the title, is Starr's individuality. Our cruel world has a way of stealing some of the best stuff from good people, "But one thing they can't take away, is this song," Starr asserts. "Seems So Far" is one more heartfelt, personal meditation on aging, put to an acoustic guitar and soulful organ backing. "Let Me Down Easy," which features Amanda Shires harmonizing with Starr, is folk-y and even a tad bluegrass-y.

Jam band music fans will most assuredly enjoy the gospel-y get-up "I'll Keep Ramblin'," as it also features pedal steel ace Robert Randolph accenting the groove, while "Best Seat in the House" switches things up with a touch of jangle-pop. "Nobody Gives A Damn" is another rev-it-up rocker. The album closes with "Mother Mountain," yet another acoustic jam - this time featuring The Wood Bros. With its stacked acoustic guitars and multi-part vocal harmonies, it brings to mind Crosby, Stills & Nash and '60s hippie nature love songs.

If "Find A Light" proves one thing, it's that there is much more to Blackberry Smoke than their obvious Southern rock influences may lead you to believe, making it easier and easier to observe this act's more contemplative side.