For 20 years, Georgia’s Blackberry Smoke has carried on Southern rock’s rich tradition. You Hear Georgia, the band’s seventh studio album, is soaked in those roots.
Recorded live in 10 days at Nashville’s legendary RCA Studio A, it’s highlighted by the deeply tasteful, just-right guitar work of Charlie Starr, Paul Jackson, and new member Benji Shanks on slide, giving Starr’s vocals solid support throughout. The title track, a catchy number about stereotypes based on the narrator’s Southern accent, features slide fills and effective backing vocals from female singers, the Black Bettys. The breezy funk of “Hey Delilah” rolls on a cool riff and spunky slide solo (by Starr here) with easygoing drum touches from Brit Turner, piano fills from Brandon Still, and more soulful vocals. The shiny melody of “Ain’t the Same” contradicts haunting lyrics about a soldier.
The country-steeped ballad “Lonesome for a Livin’” features guest Jamey Johnson on pedal steel and vocals. “All Rise Again” is boosted by guest Warren Haynes and grooving riffs. Fingerpicked acoustic guitar and gentle piano back Starr’s intimate vocals on the world-weary “Old Enough to Know.” You Hear Georgia flags sporadically, but overall simmers with its grounded, human tales.
This article originally appeared in VG’s July 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.