Blackberry Smoke’s “You Hear Georgia” Defends Southern Accents and Amplifies American Music
The title song of Blackberry smokethe new album of You hear Georgia (released May 28 via 3 Legged Records and Thirty Tigers) means two things coming from the members of Atlanta’s biggest touring band: everything is done with a southern accent they’re from; and seven studio albums in more than 20 years, they have marked the rich musical lineage of their country of origin.
âIt started off with the idea of ââaccent or even more than that, just the idea of ââbeing from the south,â said guitarist and singer Charlie Starr. âLiterally speaking, I was watching the news one morning during the entire foreclosure experience, and there was a guy who was being interviewed on the news. He had a very strong southern accent, but he was talking about something very important. wonder if people hear what he says or how he says it? That’s really where the idea came from. That’s where the first line came from. “
While the New South is not without its flaws, it sometimes feels like an entire region is becoming a scapegoat for the rest of the country.
âUnfortunately, there are bad things and bad people everywhere,â Starr adds. âThis just isn’t the South I grew up in. Maybe if I had lived 200 years ago I wouldn’t have written this song. Like all of us, I saw ugly and I saw beautiful. But I live here and I stay here because I like it. I like the people and I like the southern vibe. “
Even southerners in big cities like Atlanta and Nashville sometimes develop attitudes that if they stray into rural areas, they will live Issuance. And rural southerners might believe the worst for their neighbors, especially if they haven’t seen for themselves how much things change from state to state.
âThe first time we were in New England and specifically Maine, I met people and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’â Starr said. âIt was the first time I had truly traveled outside of the South. It was around 2002. I met some hateful people, and I don’t blame Maine. I don’t condemn the entire state of Maine. It was an eye-opening experience. I was like, ‘Okay, well, there are shitty people everywhere, or there can be.’ “
Worse yet, the damage done when a despicable person has a Southern accent can wreck otherwise hospitable towns in Georgia for visitors from near and far.
âI spoke to a German journalist just a few weeks ago, and we were talking about this song,â Starr adds. “He said: ‘I spent a few weeks in Valdosta.’ It was because of a student exchange program that one of his children was involved in, so he and his wife came and stayed with the host family. He didn’t like them. He me. said they were very small-minded and very closed. And again, I said, “Well, I’ll tell you my friend, there are people like that everywhere. I have been to your country and I have spoken to people who are exactly like that. You can’t judge the entire Southeastern United States by a household. ‘ He was like, ‘You’re right, you’re right.’ “
Read more: Story Behind the Song: Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Simple Man’ Helps Define Family-Centered Band
The title of what Starr calls his “little song” hey, don’t judge a book by its cover “” sends listeners to something less controversial: the history of Georgian music, from the Piedmont blues of Blind Willie McTell to soul artist founder Otis Redding, the giants of classic rock The Allman Brothers Group and a list of Country Music Hall of Famers topped by Brenda Lee and Bill Anderson.
Yet even coming from the same musical household as the acts mentioned above, as well as some out of the ordinary rock bands ranging from the new wavers of Athens to the pylon to the forerunners of Americana. Drive and cry– does not shake off the offbeat assumptions about Starr and the dragging southern accent of his groupmates.
âIf and when we are given the southern rock tag, I’m sure it makes a lot of people roll their eyes,â Starr adds. âThey think of rednecks and drinking beer and, you know, everything that goes with that. I guess a lot of people think of other bands too. Maybe they wouldn’t give it a second shot. “Eye to the Allman Brothers. I” I’m not in any way trying to compare us to the Allman Brothers, but obviously if you listen to their music, it’s really high level stuff. It’s very smart music. I don’t know … It’s a crazy world we live in. There are lots of other things to discuss, and people find them! “
Other talents with ties to Peach State involved in the making of You hear Georgito include backing vocalists The Black Bettys and producer Dave cobb.
You hear Georgia track list:
1. “Live it down”
2. “You hear Georgia”
3. “Hey Delilah”
4. “It’s not the same”
5. “Lonesome for a Livin ‘” (feat. Jamey Johnson)
6. “All Rise Again” (feat. Warren Haynes)
7. “Old enough to know”
8. “The Morning”
9. “Everywhere on the road”
10. “Old Scarecrow”