The ghost of Ronnie Van Zant must be smiling.
Smoke are four righteous southern rockers who wear the uniform with
panache; hair down to the middle of their backs, beards down to the
middle of their chests, bandannas firmly in place. They've been
genetically programmed to carry on the proud good ol' boy tradition and
fast-frozen since 1976. Recently thawed, they've unleashed their second
album Little Piece of Dixie upon an unsuspecting public that
has forgotten the dubious appeal of pickup trucks, coon dogs, rednecks
and longnecks, and the sweet charms of the little missus.
is admittedly not my favorite genre of music, and I hope you'll excuse
me if I fail to hearken back to the glory days of the Confederate flag.
That said, these guys do it up just the way Ronnie and the Skynyrd boys
used to do it, with sturdy southern rock riffs buttressing Charlie
Starr's (is that a southern rock god name, or what?) soulful,
deep-fried vocals. "Shake your magnolia," one songs proclaims, and the
flower of southern womanhood quivers in anticipation. My favorite is
the song where the work-weary narrator begs his woman to hold off on
the tales of unpaid bills, the woes of the kids, and the news of
politics, religion, and war until he can finish his beer. "I'll get to
the bottom of that right after I get to the bottom of this," he tells
her. Priorities are priorities. If bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38
Special, and Molly Hatchet bring a nostalgic tear to the eye, then
Blackberry Smoke will delight you. Just watch what you put on the back
of the pickup truck.