Late Night OTB – Blackberry Smoke

An artist that's been around for years that I've only discovered recently.

The first few installments of the rebooted Late Night OTB have been dedicated to cover versions by country or bluegrass artists of classic pop songs. We’ll likely return to that theme with some regularity. Tonight, though, we’ll introduce a second: artists who’ve been around for years who I’ve only discovered recently, either because of the vagaries of my listening habits, their relative obscurity, or both.

Blackberry Smoke has been around since 2000 and put out its first studio album in 2004 but I hadn’t heard of them until stumbling on this selection from their third album, The Whippoorwill, released in 2012.

Their sixth album, Find a Light, is due out next month. They’ve only charted one single, “Pretty Little Lie” (also from The Whippoorwill), which made it to #46.

It’ll surprise none of you that I prefer the live version:

This, despite their next two albums, Holding All the Roses (2015) and Like an Arrow (2016) debuting #1 on the US Country charts.

Here are a couple more I like. A wonderful cover of Steve Earle’s “My Old Friend the Blues” (see, I worked one in, anyway):

“Lesson in a Bottle” (from 2008’s New Honky Tonk Bootlegs)

“Too High” (from 2015’s Holding All the Roses)

Finally, “Ain’t Much Left of Me” (yet another from The Whippoorwill)


James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Thanx James, I did not know of these guys (I like them better when they are acoustic). I haven’t listened to the radio very much for quite some time now so my exposure to “new” music is very limited.


  2. James Joyner says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Same. Not sure how much radio play they get, anyway.


  3. tarylcabot says:

    @James Joyner: I first came across them through the Political Animal blogger (2 after Kevin Drum) who posted

    as his swansong.

    I also get a big kick out of this version of Deep Elem Blues with “the right Reverend Billy F Gibbons”.