Blackberry Smoke in Sturgis SD at Easy Riders Saloon 2013

I am a huge old school country fan of the legends that made country cool yet dangerous. It was the outlaws of country, guys like Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams jr and guys like the great Jonny Cash that made me a fan of that era of music.

Now country music is populated by talentless hacks that sound more like Britney Spears with a twangy guitar then the legends of country music’s past. Thankfully for me there is the great BlackBerry Smoke to make up for what’s lacking in country music today.

I was on the Rock Legends Cruise early in 2013 to see one of my favorites the great Paul Rodgers of Bad Company. During set changes, Paul’s stage crew had the new BlackBerry Smoke album, “The Whippoorwill” blasting over the pa. I had to know what band this was but of course with no Internet on the cruise ship I had no way to figure out what band this was. Once I found out who they were I purchased all of their albums and found out that some BlackBerry Smoke is good for the soul!

Fast forward to Sturgis and Full Throttle Saloon this year, I was photographing for Micheal Ballard and ran into front man Charlie Star backstage. I decided I had to let him know what a huge fan I was of the band. Charlie could not have been more gracious and invited me to join him for his set in downtown Sturgis at Easy Riders Saloon. I’m sure he could tell by my ear to ear smile that I wouldn’t miss that one even if a train derailed in front of me. I was so there!

Showmanship, class act, polished, tight and fantastic musicians are several words that came across my mind after seeing BlackBerry Smoke perform live. I love a great album but I’m almost obsessive about a great performing band, Blackberry Smoke’s live performance is top notch! The crowd was big, most showed up right before their set started, which shows the size of fan base that BlackBerry Smoke built over the years by relentless touring. Their energetic set lasted about an hour and had the crowd singing along the whole time and for anyone that was at the show I was that guy with a camera who was sing along as well!

Concert review and Rock Star Photography by Casey Drahota