Call To Confirm Colored Copies Are Still Available
Pigeonholing Blackberry Smoke has never been easy. Since emerging from Atlanta in the early ‘00s, the quintet has become known for a singular sound indebted to classic rock, blues, country and folk. This fluidity has paid off handsomely, in the form of two Billboard chart-topping country albums, 2015's Holding All The Roses and 2016's Like An Arrow. Find A Light, Blackberry Smoke's sixth studio album, doubles down on diversity. Songs hew toward easygoing roots-rock ("Run Away From It All") and Southern rock stomps ("The Crooked Kind"), as well as stripped-down acoustic numbers ("I've Got This Song") and bruising alt-country ("Nobody Gives A Damn"). Rich instrumental flourishes – keening fiddle, solemn organ and bar-band piano boogie – add further depth and resonance.
Within Blackberry Smoke's catalog, Find A Light is distinctive in several notable ways. The record sounds heavier than other albums; in fact, vocalist/lead guitarist Charlie Starr characterizes the churning, scorched-blues album opener, "Flesh And Bone," as "maybe the heaviest song we've ever recorded." And its title has deep significance to the record's overarching themes. "Most of our albums have been named either for a song on the album or a lyric, and this time I didn't want to do that," Starr says. "I thought, ‘What headspace is humanity in as a whole?' That's pretty hard to argue with that. I think everybody is hoping and looking for something better right now."
Accordingly, Find A Light's lyrics portray characters weighed down by the pressures of everyday life. "Flesh And Bone" explores the conundrum of temptation; "Run Away From It All" is about seizing the day and trying to leave troubles behind; and "Nobody Gives A Damn" cautions about letting external achievements such as an attractive partner or a hit song go to one's head. Yet Find A Light's hard-luck characters are soldiering forward despite it all, and remain buoyed by optimism – and deep faith in themselves. "One of these days I'll get the best seat in the house/It's the measure of a man, of a man," goes the jangly "Best Seat In The House," while the narrator of "I've Got A Song" asserts, "At the end of the day, it's the one thing they can't take away: I've got this song." The album's final song, "Mother Mountain," focuses on the belief that redemption and rebirth are always within reach.
Blackberry Smoke spent a little over two weeks recording Find A Light in Atlanta with engineer/mixer Tom Tapley and long-time collaborator Benji Shanks. As with 2016's Like An Arrow, the band self-produced the record and it features several guest musicians. The brisk, gospel-tinged Southern rocker "I'll Keep Ramblin'" features the song's co-writer, Robert Randolph, adding frantic pedal steel, while the psychedelic-tinted folk elegy "Mother Mountain" blooms with The Wood Brothers' inimitable harmonies. And the easygoing "Let Me Down Easy," features Amanda Shires shading Starr's vocals with her clarion twang.