Wim S. : Things are going well for Blackberry Smoke, the band from Georgia build around the Turner brothers. In their home country the band has almost the same status as veteran Southern rockers like Lynyyrd Skynyrd and Atlanta Rhythm Section, but now Europe also seems to be warming up to the music of the band. There is another extensive tour planned for October and November, that also brings the band to our country (Hengelo and Amsterdam). Therefore, the scheduled release of this double CD / DVD is a matter of excellent timing.
The two CD's of 'Leave A Scar' consist of a recording of a live performance that the band did in North Carolina. The 22 tracks show a great band whose music live is not very different from their studio versions. Personally, I think that's a shame. Because for me, the most characteristic of the Southern rock genre is that guitarists during live performances get a lot of opportunities (in some cases even a bit too much) to go berserk on their instrument. Songs that normally are four minutes suddenly go on for half an hour! Tasty, long jams as we know from bands like Allman Brothers, Outlaws and The Black Crowes. The only exception is Gov't Mule; that band is more focused on the groove. After listening to this live recording I realize I'm not really impressed, especially so because of the absence of the typical Southern live feel. The songs all sound nice but it is all very clean and almost never really kick your ass. Furthermore singer Charlie Starr is a great frontman (and he really has great sideburns!) and he certainly has a nice voice, but he does not reach the same level as Ronnie Van Zant of Gregg Allman. Blackberry Smoke therefore lacks the most essential elements of a top Southern rock band for me. But please do not be too negative about Blackberry Smoke, because it is really a great band. And they would do well at the World Championships 'which band has the longest hair in the world’, with Obituary as formidable competitor.
The DVD is much more fun than the two live CDs. We see a driven band, although musically so restrained. A band that is working with the public in an interactive way. Incidentally, that hall in North Carolina looks fokkin great, not too big, with a nice balcony and lots of beautiful lights. The camera images run smoothly, which is enjoyable for the viewer. The features of this DVD are a live performance that is interspersed with short interviews with the band members; we see them in their own environment (on the farm, working on their cars) and thus we get to know more about the musical motives of the band. Sympathetic people! Guys that at home in Georgia do not look like hippies and who are not associated directly with the inevitable Persian carpets on stage. One and a half hours of fun.