ALBUM REVIEW: Like An Arrow – Blackberry Smoke

Atlanta rockers BLACKBERRY SMOKE are back with another album Like An Arrow, a follow on from their hugely successful 2015 record Holding All The Roses, with more country rock complete with guitars and a strong South American accent.

Charlie Starr’s strongly accented voice is a friendly sound to any BLACKBERRY SMOKE fan, and it rings out after a short guitar introduction on Waiting For The Thunder, the first track. There’s a bluesy instrumental section later on, but it’s not out of place, rather it sits neatly between the country guitar twangs and powerful vocals. A powerful start to the album.

No time to rest before Let It Burn comes crashing through the speakers, more of a dance tune than the first track. Picture a moonlit night in Atlanta, BLACKBERRY SMOKE playing live, and couples dancing on a dance floor and you’ll have an idea about the vibe of this song. The fast pace emulates the anxious nature of the song about wanting to take hold of life and go somewhere new, a relatable song.

The Good Life is the first slow track of the album, and can only be described as quietly optimistic with the memorable line “don’t let your horseshoes point down”. Encouraging words of wisdom, and even some advice. Another hint of blues is present through the guitar solo in the second half, which neatly transitions back into Charlie’s vocals telling a sad story. It’s a mixture of happy and sad emotions, teaching of learning from the bad and savouring what you have.  The slow, gentle feel doesn’t last long and the album jumps straight back into party mode with What Comes Naturally with a raunchy invitation and plenty of suggestive comments, reminiscent of Six Ways To Sunday from 2014’s The Whippoorwill.

Like An Arrow is a song that will have you singing, “we all live and die, time will always roll on by, like an arrow we will fly”, along after the first chorus, and tapping your foot during the instrumental sections which drip with country spirit. It rolls nicely into Sunrise In Texas, a song BLACKBERRY SMOKE have been playing live for years, but have finally decided to record – there will be many happy fans. It’s another track to make any listener consider what’s important in life, a prominent theme in this album. This gentle tune combines Charlie’s sultry vocals soothing the broken souls in the song and a country guitar solo in an effortless manner. Next comes Ain’t Gonna Wait, another gentle tune full of

Free On The Wing is the final song on the album, and guest stars Gregg Allman on vocals which brings another dynamic to the song. Gregg’s harsher tones are more emotional in a way which fits nicely on a song about break-ups. With this gentle duet the album winds down to a satisfactory close.

This is a true country album that flows gracefully from one song to the next and one that any BLACKBERRY SMOKE fan will be delighted with. Holding All The Roses might have been a huge success for the American quintet, but this album is going to reach a whole other set of new heights.

Rating: 8/10

Like An Arrow - Blackberry Smoke

Like An Arrow is set for release on October 14th via Earache Records. Pre-orders on limited edition signed CD and coloured vinyl, as well as regular CD, vinyl, and various merch bundles are available here.

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