Campfire Tales: a chat with Blackberry Smoke

Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke have been touring the width of the US for the last ten years, and are on their third album Stateside. Over in Blighty they’re just about to release their debut album, The Whippoorwill via heavy metal specialist label Earache Records, the latest signing in their attempt to broaden their rock horizons (they already have Rival Sons and The Temperance Movement on their books).

After a first UK show headlining the tiny Barfly venue in London, ‘The Smoke’ are heading out on their full UK tour in February, taking in London, Manchester, Nottingham, Wolverhampton and Glasgow. We had a quick chat with ‘Smoke’ frontman, and owner of tremendous sideburns, Charlie Starr.

Please introduce yourselves to our readers!

My name is Charlie Starr. I am lead singer/songwriter/guitar player for Blackberry Smoke!

So are you rock, country, country-rock, or something else?

We play Southern Music, I guess you could say!

The album has been a long time coming to the UK - how come?

We've not had European distribution with any of our albums previously. Now, we've forged a relationship with Earache Records, and our stuff can be released there properly.

How do you find promoting an album that’s been on release, and toured, in the US for about 18 months?

It seems a little strange, doesn't it? There are plenty of people around the world who haven't heard it, so it's brand new to them, I guess.

Is ‘One Horse Town’ based on a specific set of experiences or just the generic small town life?

I was inspired by the goings-on in the small town I grew up in.

We really enjoyed your gig at the Barfly in November; how did you find it, and the UK audience?

I had a really great time! We were so pleased to see that there were so many fans that have been waiting so long for us to come to the UK. They've let us know about it on our website and other social media outlets for a few years now.

You’ve got your first headlining tour lined up - how does that feel?

We are really happy to have the opportunity, finally!

You tour like crazy at home in the US; what do you enjoy most about being out on the road?

Well, road life is very interesting. The different things we experience every day, the food, the people. It gets to be addictive.

How did you come to sign with Earache, their other acts are a bit more on the metal side of things?

I really am not sure how it all started, but, we love Digby, the Dans, Elaine and everyone involved over there! Good folks.

What was the moment that you knew you wanted to be in a band?

I don't know if I can pin it down to a specific moment. My first listen to Aerosmith ‘Rocks’ might've been it...I don't know for sure!

What other artist(s) do you enjoy listening to?

Right now, Jonathan Wilson has a new album called Fanfare, and it is phenomenal. I also just got a nice Ry Cooder recording from a radio broadcast in 1970, I think. Incredible!

Is there something I should have asked today that I haven’t?

How do I like my coffee? Strong.

For full tour details of the Blackberry Smoke UK tour that starts 28th February, take a look at their website.

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