Southern hard rock band Blackberry Smoke is one of several headliners for this year’s Double Decker Arts Festival. The Atlanta-originated band is making a stop in Oxford as part of its 2023 tour. Lead singer and guitarist Charlie Starr discussed the band’s background as well as its exciting future.
The band was formed in 2000 and released its first album, “Bad Luck Ain’t No Crime,” in 2003. The lineup includes bassist and lead vocalist Starr, bassist and vocalist Richard Turner, drummer Brit Turner, guitarist and vocalist Paul Jackson and keyboardist Brandon Still.
The members started out in different bands from the Atlanta area and “sort of fell together in late night bars over a period of time in the late ’90s,” according to Starr.
Performing with the same group of people for decades would probably lose its excitement after a while, but not for Blackberry Smoke. Starr talked about how close the members are and their love of performing together.
“It definitely feels like it’s been 21 years. We love each other and genuinely enjoy playing this music together. That keeps it exciting,” Starr said.
Fellow Georgia musician and close friend of the band Chris Robinson gave the group its name by sitting around and spitting out random words. Once everyone heard the unique combination of Blackberry and Smoke, they knew it would be their title.
“I think it’s just two words that work together well,” Starr said.
Like the sultry smoothness of its name, Blackberry Smoke’s discography is just as alluring. The band’s style leans heavily toward rock, yet it is laced with Southern Americana genres like blues and country. When it comes to the group’s musical influences, “anything good” seems to be the answer that feels the most faithful between Starr and his bandmates.
Regarding composition and songwriting, Starr usually takes the lead. With the group’s most recent album, “You Hear Georgia,” many songs were collaborative efforts among Grammy award-winning producer Dave Cobbs, former The Four Horsemen member Dave Lizmi, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Rickey Medlocke and many more.
Starr revealed that the band’s new album is finished and will be shared with fans soon.
The band members are not strangers to Oxford. They have come through the town several times when touring Mississippi. However, this is their first time headlining the Double Decker Arts Festival, and they could not be more excited.
“We look forward to playing our music for all the beautiful people at Double Decker,” Starr said.
Blackberry Smoke is performing at the Double Decker Arts Festival on Saturday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Stage on North Lamar. For more information about the band and the festival, visit www.doubledeckerfestival.com.