@planetmosh reviews Leave a Scar: Live in North Carolina by .@blackberrysmoke on .@earacherecords.
The guys over at Earache Records must be rubbing their hands together in glee, as they’ve managed to get some of the best up and coming bands in the world on their roster, including The Temperance Movement, Rival Sons, and Blackberry Smoke, who will release their new live album on August 18th.
Sometimes live albums can be a hit or a miss. A band that can sound great when they’ve been auto-tuned to within an inch of their lives in the studio can sound god-awful live. Sometimes the energy and atmosphere of the gig just doesn’t come across, leaving you with a record that sounds like it was recorded in an empty warehouse. I’ve seen Blackberry Smoke live, and I know they put on a brilliant show, so I was really hoping that would come across in their new release, Leave a Scar: Live in North Carolina. I wasn’t disappointed. For a fan this is Christmas come early, and for new listeners it’s a perfect introduction to one of the most hard-working, talented bands around. It comes as a two CD set, featuring 22 tracks, and also includes a 19 track live DVD, with bonus interviews and behind the scenes footage, all for only £11.99. Total bargain!
Blackberry Smoke are Charlie Starr on lead vocals/guitar, Richard Turner – bass/vocals, Brit Turner – drums, Paul Jackson – guitar/vocals and Brandon Still – keyboards. Having put in the hard graft, performing around 200 shows a year for the last ten years, the band have got this business down to a fine art. Not only does the energy of the crowd come across but so does the performance. Performing live is a whole different ball game from playing in a studio, but they don’t miss a note through the entire show. They cover their whole back catalogue, with tracks taken from everything from 2008’s New Honky Tonk Bootlegs right up to latest album The Whippoorwill. Highlights for me include Ain’t Much Left of Me, which breaks down in the middle into a section of Led Zeppelin’s When The Levee Breaks, and Up the Road, which features an unbelievable guitar solo. Also look out for Six Ways to Sunday and previously unreleased track Payback’s a Bitch. Charlie’s voice is spot-on throughout, and he does a good job of bringing the crowd into the show, enhancing the live aspect of the CD and lifting the atmosphere without ever descending into being one of those awful shows where the singer gets the crowd to sing the songs for him. I don’t buy a ticket to listen to the crowd!
In summary, if you can’t actually get to a Blackberry Smoke show Leave a Scar: Live in North Carolina is the next best thing. Close your eyes and you could almost be there. And if almost isn’t good enough, they’ll be back in the UK and Ireland later this year so go get yourself a ticket. Who knows, you might end up on their next live album!
CD1: Shakin’ Hands With the Holy Ghost/Sanctified Woman/Testify/Good One Comin’ On/Six Ways To Sunday/Ain’t Got the Blues/Lucky Seven/Pretty Little Lie/Restless/Up In Smoke/Crimson Moon/The Whippoorwill/Son of the Bourbon.
CD2:Everybody Knows She’s Mine/One Horse Town/Lesson in a Bottle/Ain’t much left of me/Leave A Scar/Sleeping Dogs/Payback’s a Bitch/Up The Road/Shake Your Magnolia.
Links: www.blackberrysmoke.com, www.facebook.com/BlackberrySmoke, @blackberrysmoke