Brit Turner—Heartbeat of Blackberry Smoke—Has Heart Attack

Sad and scary news out of the Blackberry Smoke camp as word has come down that the long-time drummer for the band, Brit Turner, suffered a serious heart attack on Sunday, August 14th while at his home in Atlanta. Luckily, Turner was able to make it to the hospital on time, where he received a stent in his coronary artery and is currently in stable condition and recovering.

“For this reason we have made the decision to postpone the show at the St. Louis Music Park with Jamey Johnson and Ella Langley originally scheduled for TUES, AUG 16,” the band said in a statement. “The new date is TUES SEPT 13. All tickets for the show will be honored. We will resume our regular touring schedule beginning this Thurs AUG 18 in Wichita, KS at WAVE. We will perform acoustic shows until Brit is able to rejoin the tour. We thank you all for your understanding, support, and prayers.”

Those who know about Blackberry Smoke, they know that Brit Turner is not just the drummer and a founding member of the band, but the heartbeat and big brother of the Atlanta-based group, helping to keep Blackberry Smoke together since its formation in 2000, while chronicling the band all along the way, keeping collections of all the accolades, accomplishments, tour posters, credentials, and everything else. In the 2014 concert movie Blackberry Smoke Live in North Carolina by Judd Films, the band’s frontman Charlie Starr says,

“Brit, he is 100% Mr. Blackberry Smoke in that he is the keeper and archivist of all things Blackberry Smoke. If it weren’t for Brit, we might have given up a long time ago. Brit was the constant—the adult. The other three of us were like kids. He was the one that kept us all together. We were like a herd of cats. And I’m sure I took years off his life with all that mayhem.”

Born in Mt. Clemons, Michigan, but raised in the Atlanta area, Brit Turner is the brother of Blackberry Smoke bass player Richard Turner. Brit received a snare drum for Christmas when he was in the sixth grade, and there was no turning back. The two brothers played in a heavy metal band throughout the 80s and 90s that opened for Iron Maiden, Metallica, Motörhead, and others before they transitioned to more rock and country sounds amid the formation of Blackberry Smoke.

Blackberry Smoke has since become the flamekeepers of Southern rock, and wildly successful as an independent band, including their 2015 album Holding All The Roses becoming the first independently-released album in the modern era to go #1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart. Their next three albums also debuted in the Top 5. Blackberry Smoke also released a 7-song Rolling Stones covers album recently called Stoned.

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