Blackberry Smoke, Allman Betts Take It Back To Jacksonville
When Charlie Starr started setting the itinerary for the Spirit of the South tour, he knew there was a city the traveling celebration of southern rock music should go to.
“If you’re someone who uses the term ‘southern rock’ then Jacksonville, Fla. Is holy ground,” Starr said last week as he prepared for the tour.
Starr, singer and guitarist of Georgian rockers Blackberry Smoke, is of course not wrong. A few miles from Daily’s Place, where the tour stops on Tuesday night, is the Riverside House where the Allman Brothers Band first met. Around the corner is Riverside High, which was still called Lee High School when a teacher by the name of Leonard Skinner harassed some students about their hair long enough to name their group. Blackfoot, .38 Special and Molly Hatchet all started in Jacksonville and have sold a lot of records with their top-flight guitar lines.
The Spirit of the South tour is a tip of the hat to all those “southern rock” groups that have laid the groundwork for bands like Blackberry Smoke, Starr said. But it’s also a tribute to Ray Charles and Little Richard and countless bands that were from the south and rock, but not necessarily “southern rock”.
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This term irritates some, who equate it with racism and narrow-mindedness. This is not the case with Starr.
“I don’t mind,” he said. “Some musicians over the years have laughed at that. I think it might come from the idea that you’re compartmentalized. If that’s a term people would use to put you in a box, then I don’t. I’m just saying we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band from Georgia. We’re a confusing band anyway because we also like to play a traditional country song every now and then. “
The tour is a tribute to Southern music in general, but the Allman Brothers Band in particular. The Allman Betts Band, which includes the sons of Allman Brothers Band founders Duane Allman, Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley, plays before Blackberry Smoke.
Jaimoe, founding member and longtime drummer of the Allman Brothers Band, was also supposed to be on the tour but had to drop out due to medical issues, Starr said. Jaimoe is expected to join the tour later, but will not be at the Jacksonville show.
The Big House, a museum in Macon, Georgia that celebrates all things Allman Brothers, will have a traveling exhibit during the concert. Starr said the folks at Big House approached him with the idea of a traveling exhibit when they heard about the tour.
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The show was scheduled to take place last year but was delayed by the pandemic. In the year that followed, Blackberry Smoke released a well-received new album and Allman Betts Band became a title in its own right. Starr said fans will get a pretty good deal on the Spirit of the South Tour.
Blackberry Smoke’s new album is called “You Hear Georgia”. Starr laughed when asked what reaction he expects from Gator fans when he plays the song at Daily’s Place, which is attached to the stadium where the annual Florida-Georgia soccer game takes place. “Maybe we’ll wear Georgia football helmets,” he said.
Spirit of the South Tour
With Blackberry Smoke, Allman Betts and Wild Feathers
6 p.m. Tuesday at Daily’s Place
$ 26 to $ 180.50