The Whippoorwill by Blackberry Smoke

Starting with the chorus of “Six Ways to Sunday,” the first cut on Blackberry Smoke’s new album, it’s pretty clear you won’t be hearing this talented Southern rock band on country radio anytime soon—not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

I’m gonna love you six ways to Sunday / I’m wanna do it like it’s never been done / I wanna hear that woman speaking in tongues, lead singer Charlie Starr enthusiastically intones on the song—not exactly mainstream radio fodder.

The group’s third album has an earthy and organic feel, more heavily rooted in 1970s Southern rock à la .38 Special, The Marshall Tucker Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd than previous efforts.

Highlights include the vulnerable yet determined “Ain’t Much Left of Me” and small-town anthem “One Horse Town,” where the only way for the singer’s baseball-playing sons to break the cycle of living where their father lived is to hit the big time.

On driving rocker “Leave a Scar,” Charlie sings, I may not change the world, but I’m gonna leave a scar. It’s a fitting lyric.

Produced by the band, along with Zac Brown Band’s Clay Cook and Zac Brown, as well as Mark Mangano, The Whippoorwill is Blackberry Smoke’s best release to date and the touring band is certainly making its mark.

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