Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke have been busy with their newly released record (May 28th, 2021) "You Hear Georgia” and The Spirit of the South Tour that was postponed in 2020 for a year due to the pandemic.
The tour, featuring special guests The Allman Betts Band and the Wild Feathers, kicked off in late July of 2021 and ends in late October with Red Rocks in Colorado being the final stop.
Each show on the tour concludes with a star studded finale that pays tribute to a number of various influences that have inspired many past and present southern rock bands. Additionally, The Allman Brothers Band Museum the Big House had a mobile set-up at the venue featuring never before seen archival items ranging from hand written lyrics, iconic clothing and jewelry worn by the band as well as stage played instruments.
The Allman Betts Band are continuing to leave their mark on rock & roll history, in the studio and on the road. They are truly captivating audiences everywhere they play and turning out some incredible recording's in between a busy touring schedule with their latest album Bless Your Heart released in July of 2020. Devon Allman, Duane Betts, and Berry Oakley Jr. are the sons of Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, and Berry Oakley, founding members of The Allman Brothers Band. They have had an influential life to say the least and the original music they compose and perform is a testament to their upbringing and the lives they now live. They always include a handful of their father's songs at each gig they play. They are joined on-stage by Johnny Stachela on guitar, John Lum and R. Scott Bryan on percussion and John Ginty on keyboards.
The Wild Feathers, introducing their fourth full length album ‘Alvarado' to the world just three weeks ago, opened the Spirit of the South Tour at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Formed in 2010 in Nashville, The Wild Feathers are an American country rock band covering a lot of ground recording and touring. They have an expanded outlook on music as they explore heartland, southern and alternative rock. The Wild Feathers opened the show with a highly energetic set, covering songs from The Alvarado album as well as other songs featured on earlier albums. They have great stage presence, vocal abilities and are all around great players. This was their first time at Red Rocks and they received a warm Colorado welcome on a very chilly night.
The Allman Betts Band were up next and they brought some serious heat to stage opening their set with Magnolia Road from the Bless Your Heart album. King Crawler and Savannah’s Dream from the same album were up next with Devon and Duane sharing the lead vocals as well as guitar solos on the songs giving the audience a great mix of vocal styles. Johnny Stachela on guitar/slide adds amazing fullness to the sound with his scorching solos and rich tone. Berry Oakley Jr. on bass is the understatement of the year, this guy embodies the bass guitar as if it’s an extension of himself. He was crushing the low-end and you can feel the notes in your chest as they bounced off the giant monoliths surrounding the stage. John and Scott provided the constant heart beat on percussion and John Ginty puts all of his weight into the Hammond B3 as he leans on the keys. The band covered Midnight Rider and My Blue Sky by the Allman Brothers Band as well as Down to The River and closed out a brilliant set with Pale Horse Rider.
Blackberry Smoke brought Southern Rock to the rocky mountains next, opening their set with the title track to their newest album “You Hear Georgia.” Charlie Starr fronts this band with amazing vocal abilities, impeccable skills on the guitar and stage presence that grabs you and pulls you right on stage with him. He has a vibe with the guitar as it moves freely with him around the stage while he melts your face with guitar licks. The band is nothing short of a hard driving guitar army slaying the audience with memorable arrangements and incredible tones from the large assortment of guitars played throughout the set. There were many highlights during the fifteen song show as the band ripped through plenty of favorites including songs from the new album and many more. Live It Down, Good One, Hey Delilah, One Horse Town and Ain’t Much Left were also on the set list. Double drummers and double background vocal goodness as well as keyboards and bass round out this kick ya' in the teeth rock band. The band gave a special nod to the the Atlanta Braves when they finished the tribute part of the show in Braves jerseys. The audience are devoted followers and were having the time of their lives singing along with Charlie and stomping their feet!
All of the musicians joined Blackberry Smoke to close out the evening. Each band took their turn on stage and paid tribute to the Southern Rock bands that have inspired and influenced them. Jimmy Hall, who was the lead singer, saxophonist and harmonica player for the super southern rock group of the 70's Wet Willie, was in the house and he came out singing his ass off and playing some very tasty harmonica on Keep On Smilin’. The artists covered many notable southern rock anthems. Spooky by the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Tuesday’s Gone by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Southbound and Whipping Post By The Allman Brothers Band were all played in honor of the Sprit of The South!
What a fantastic evening!! Thank to all of the bands, crew and guests for making this such a memorable night. Thanks to Chris, Martin and Rueben for always looking out for me.