You may not know a lot about Atlanta-based country-rockers Blackberry Smoke  – but the guys in Blackberry Smoke know a lot about rock and roll. They took their name from their buddy Chris Robinson. (It is what he told them he would have named the Black Crowes had that name been taken.) They spent Labor Day weekend rocking a cruise ship with current mainstream country darlings Zac Brown Band. And after Friday night’s show at Louisville’s Vernon Club, BBS was driving all night so they could open a military base 9/11 show for Kid Rock.
But on the small stage at the Vernon Club  in front of a dedicated group of fans, the five guys that make up the band weren’t worried about coming off as rock stars. Instead of bragging about their Kid Rock gig, lead singer Charlie Starr’s main mention of their weekend plans involved his excitement about being promised that he could shoot military-grade automatic weapons. And when some fans mentioned they were celebrating birthdays, Starr ran through a traditional version of “Happy Birthday” before making a joke about copyright infringement and what was in store for the rest of the evening.
"Some of the songs we are gonna play tonight are about women. Some are about fightin’. And some are about birthdays,” he smirked.
The band’s set delivered fan favorites like “Bottom of This,” “Good One Comin’ On,” and “Up In Smoke,” while still trying out some newer tunes and leaving room for a mid-song cover of the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider.” The crowd at the Vernon Friday night – a group of folks a little older and more blue-collar than the typical indie rock crown known to frequent the club – sang the lyrics they knew (which were most of them) loudly and proudly and made sure to hoist their Bud Light upwards when Starr and band led them in the refrain, “And I'll get to the bottom of that / After I get to the bottom of this!”
Photo by Brian Eichenberger