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My Countrytown: Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke – Lanett, Alabama

29 June 2021 | 2:17 pm | Mallory Arbour

We caught up with vocalist and guitarist, Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke to find out what he loves about his hometown, Lanett, Alabama.

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Regional towns are in our blood here at CountryTown! From Kurri Kurri to Broome. We love the amazing country musicians our regional centres produce – but we mustn’t forget the quality artists who come from distant shores too!

Blackberry Smoke has become known for a singular sound indebted to classic rock, blues, country, and folk. Since forming in 2001, the acclaimed American band has toured relentlessly and independently released seven full-length albums, including their latest You Hear Georgia. The album, which pays homage to the band’s deep respect for their Georgia roots, peaked at #5 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and contains our previous Song of the Day, Hey Delilah.

We caught up with vocalist and guitarist, Charlie Starr to find out what he loves about his hometown, Lanett, Alabama.

1. Chattahoochie River

The river basically runs through the middle of the town where I was born and raised. We were all river rats who grew up swimming, fishing and swinging off ropes tied to limbs in trees on the riverbank. In the afternoons, the West Point dam would open upriver and make the current extremely adventurous ... don’t tell my Mom that we jumped in at those times.

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2. Daniel’s Hamburgers

There’s a tiny yellow building that, to this day, still serves greasy little hamburgers with potato chips and a pickle. I have no idea why they are so damn delicious but they are. As far as I know, only a couple of people can fit in the building with the griddle so seating is at picnic tables outside. If you go there, order two burgers. 

3. Nader’s Music

Unfortunately, this little music store is no longer there. I received an education in the blues from two fellows who worked there. I would ride my bicycle there nearly every day when I was a youngster. They had vinyl, cassettes and musical instruments in stock. Mr. Nader and Mr. Gilliam would allow me to strum a guitar and tinkle on a piano. When they noticed I really liked the blues and soul music they had playing in the store everyday, they put me on the path. I am forever in their debt.

4. Magic Valley Skate Land

Also known as “the skating rink.” Weekend nights would find my friends and I there tearing it up. It was the time of “No Parking On The Dancefloor” and “Freaks Come Out At Night”. For some reason, it never seemed to hurt when you’d fall in those days. At this point, I’d wind up in traction. Also, kissed a girl for the first time at this place. 

5. Central Baptist Church

This was where you learned how to sing. 3 hymns before the sermon and 1 before altar call every Sunday morning and night … sometimes Wednesday night. Our preacher was a fire and brimstone shouter with a 3 piece suit and slicked back hair. I saw him with his sleeves rolled up once on a Saturday afternoon and he had a tattoo on his forearm that said “Born Loser.” I don’t think I’ve ever been the same.

Keep up to date with everything Blackberry Smoke and follow them on Facebook here.

For more of our My CountryTown series, check out here.

Image: Supplied