Album review: BLACKBERRY SMOKE – Leave A Scar Live in North Carolina

BLACKBERRY SMOKE - Leave A Scar Live in North Carolina

Earache [Release date 18.08.14] 2-CD/DVD

Skynyrd fans, lovers of the Georgia Satellites and The Black Crowes – you need read no further, just go buy. If you like good, honest Southern rock – just go buy. The rest of you? Read on.

Originally formed over a decade ago, Blackberry Smoke are now getting the worldwide recognition that they deserve. With that the band have begun churning it out- their recent studio album The Whippoorwill (although this was released in Europe this year, it was actually released in the US in August 2012), this new live CD/DVD package and a brand new album is also in sight, and you can’t blame the band for grabbing the limelight after the long road to get there.

I first heard the band in 2010 and have been lucky enough to catch them live both in the UK and the US and they are a great live act, not surprising as the band play over 250 shows a year, and Leave A Scar – Live North Carolina captures the band’s live spirit perfectly.

With the DVD containing 18 tracks and the CD 22, the live sound on this package is nothing short of awesome and the audience interaction shows the high regard in which the band are held by their fans.

The set list itself spans the band’s 5 previous releases and new track Payback’s a Bitch shows great promise for their forthcoming studio effort.

Tracks such as ‘Shakin’ Hands With The Holy Ghost’ and ‘Pretty Little Lie’ will be familiar to radio fans here in the UK and there are a number of other tracks from The Whippoorwill on offer here including ‘Six Ways To Sunday’, ‘Crimson Moon’ and ‘One Horse Town’.

We also get the out and out country of ‘Ain’t Got The Blues’, the B3 laden ‘Restless’ and – on the CD – ‘Up The Road’, featuring a stunning guitar solo, and an excellent rendition of ‘Shake Your Magnolia’.  The DVD though has a slightly different running order and unfortunately these are 2 of the tracks that are omitted.

Other highlights include the bass led ‘Up In Smoke’, which happens to be the song that introduced me to the world of Blackberry Smoke, ‘Sanctified Woman’, ‘Good One Comin’ On’ and ‘Ain’t Much Left Of Me’ – the latter highlighting exactly what kind of live machine the band are as they effortlessly switch into Led Zeppelin’s ‘When The Levee Breaks’ and back.

Leave A Scar – Live North Carolina is a great live release and one that Blackberry Smoke can be proud of. The band are back in the UK in October and you really should see them live if you can.  *****

Review by Nikk Gunns

UK dates (2014)

Oct 15 Dublin Academy
Oct 16 Glasgow O2 ABC
Oct 17 Manchester Ritz
Oct 19 Shepherds Bush Empire
Oct 21 Cambridge Junction


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