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Blackberry Smoke Leave Zac Brown’s Label, Ink Rounder Deal for New Album

‘Holding All the Roses’ features country twang, rock muscle, production from studio powerhouse Brendan O’Brien

Blackberry Smoke in Berlin

Blackberry Smoke's Charlie Starr performs in Berlin on November 3, 2014.

Frank Hoensch/Redferns

Blackberry Smoke have packed up their Gibson guitars and left Zac Brown’s Southern Ground label, joining the roster of Rounder Records just in time for the February 2015 release of the band’s fourth album, Holding All the Roses. Produced by Brendan O’Brien — the studio powerhouse behind records by Neil Young, Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen — Roses takes its cues from the band’s back catalog, offering up another sturdy, scuzzy blend of country crunch and rock & roll rasp. After logging more than 250 shows annually for most of the last decade, Blackberry Smoke took a fast and furious approach to the recording process, wrapping up the entire album in just over a week.

Like Blackberry Smoke, O’Brien hails from Atlanta, where he kicked off his career as a substitute bassist for the Georgia Satellites before pulling double duty as recording engineer and studio musician on the Black Crowes’ multi-platinum debut, Shake Your Money Maker. Smoke leader Charlie Starr and the other four members of the band grew up listening to O’Brien’s records, and their decision to record Holding All the Roses with a fellow Atlantan — especially after amicably leaving the label of Zac Brown, another hometown hero — smartly keeps the band’s roots planted in the same soil that housed their earliest bar gigs. 

“[O’Brien’s] an old Atlanta guy,” Starr told Rolling Stone Country in July, “and I think a few of us had met him and hung out with him over the years, way back in the day, but this is a new experience for us as a band. We recorded live [in the studio] a lot again, and we tried a few different things, as well.”

When it comes time to promote the new record in early 2015, though, Blackberry Smoke will go back to their tried-and-true method of touring at a rugged, relentless pace. The 2015 shows kick off in early February and currently stretch as far as May, with the band playing iconic venues like Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and New York City’s Webster Hall along the way.

Holding All The Roses track listing:

1. “Let Me Help You (Find the Door)”
2. “Holding All the Roses”
3. “Living in the Song”
4. “Rock and Roll Again”
5. “Woman in the Moon”
6. “Too High”
7. “Wish in One Hand”
8. “Randolph County Farewell”
9. “Payback’s a Bitch”
10. “Lay It All on Me”
11. “No Way Back to Eden”
12. “Fire in the Hole”

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