Blackberry Smoke Reboots Ambitious “Spirit of the South” Tour

photo: Brad Coolidge

It was a really cool idea when Southern rock gods Blackberry Smoke announced it in early March of 2020. The “Spirit of the South Tour: A Celebration of Southern Rock and Roll” would combine their talents with the Allman Betts Band, the Wild Feathers, along with original Allman Brothers Band member Jaimoe. But for obvious reasons, the ambitious enterprise never transpired.

But lucky enough for us, Blackberry Smoke didn’t scrap their plans for the tour, they’ve re-booked multiple dates, and are determined to bring their original vision for the tour back to life in 2021.

“On this tour we’d like to celebrate the musical freedom championed by those pioneers, and maybe help tell the story,” said Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr. “It’s not only what people think of as Southern Rock, but all the elements in Rock and Roll that make it Southern. It’s blues, gospel, soul, jazz and bluegrass…everything that took root in the South and spread all over the world. We feel this tour is going to give us all a unique opportunity for something really special.”

What might make it extra special now is the fact that Blackberry Smoke has a brand new album on the way on May 28th called You Hear Georgia produced by Dave Cobb, meaning they’ll be ready to unveil new material on the tour.

Also joining the band now both in the studio and on the road is well-known Atlanta percussionist Preston Holcomb, as well as guitarist Benji Shanks who has worked with The Black Crowes and others in the past. Benji had previously appeared on acoustic tours with Charlie Starr as an accompanist, and both were on tour with Blackberry Smoke when they paired up with the Tedeschi Trucks Band. Preston Holcomb and Benji Shanks are now considered full-time touring members of Blackberry Smoke, and help the band stretch out their extended jams, which will be useful on the upcoming tour.

“What will be exceptional is we were able to carve out time nightly for a jam at then end of the show that includes bringing [the openers] back up, with our band, and we have our friend, the legendary Jaimoe, up every night,” Charlie Starr explains. “There will even be some surprise guests who will join in that will allow us to change up the encore jam from show to show. This is going to let us stretch out musically and perform songs that continue to inspire generations of artists and fans of Southern Music. There are a lot of moving pieces doing something of this magnitude, but I think everyone will love the Celebration!”

Many of the dates are on sale already, with more becoming available on Friday, May 21st at 10 a.m. local. Don’t be surprised if more dates are added later as well.

Spirit of the South Tour: A Celebration of Southern Rock N Roll Dates

July 30 – Bridgeport, CT – Hartford Healthcare Amphitheatre
July 31 – Canandaigua, NY – CMAC
August 1 – Huber Heights, OH – Rose Music Center at the Heights
August 3 – St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Music Park
August 5 – Dallas, TX – the Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
August 6 – Memphis, TN – the Soundstage at Graceland
August 7 – Ashland, KY – Riverfront
August 10 – Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place
August 12 – Baltimore, MD – MECU Pavilion
August 13 – Asbury Park, NJ – the Stone Pony Summer Stage
August 15 – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
August 17 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater
August 19 – Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavilion
August 20 – Nashville, TN – Ascend Amphitheater
August 21 – Alpharetta, GA – Ameris Bank Amphitheater
August 25 – New York, NY – Pier 17 at South Street Seaport
August 26 – Boston, MA – Rockland Trust Bank Pavilion
August 27 – Reading, PA – Santander Arena
September 23 – Indianapolis, IN – White River State Park
September 24 – Sterling Heights, MI – Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill
September 25 – Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
October 28 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre

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