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Rider Essentials: Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke

13 January 2022 | 10:20 am | Mallory Arbour

We caught up with Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke to find out the things he always takes on the road with him for this week’s Rider Essentials.

Blackberry Smoke

Blackberry Smoke (Blackberry Smoke)

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Blackberry Smoke has become known for a singular sound indebted to classic rock, blues, country, and folk. Since 2001, the acclaimed American band – made up of Charlie Starr, Paul Jackson, Richard Turner, Brit Turner and Brandon Still has independently released seven full-length albums, two live albums and five EPs.

Their most recent release, 2021's You Hear Georgia, pays homage to the band’s deep respect for their Georgia roots and features special guests Jamey Johnson, Warren Haynes and The Black Bettys. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and contains our previous Song of the Day, Hey Delilah as well as latest single, All Rise Again.

In addition to their work as musicians, Blackberry Smoke remains committed to charitable work and has raised nearly $500,000 benefiting children’s cancer research.

We caught up with lead vocalist and guitarist Charlie Starr to find out the things he always takes on the road with him for this week’s Rider Essentials.

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1. Coffee maker

We always have our trusty Breville coffee maker with the burr grinder on top. Good coffee means the start of a good day. Bad coffee will make you mad at humanity. It’s also the difference between a good show and a bad show because everyone hits that machine in the evening for good measure. Everyone except Paul Jackson who is not a coffee lover. WTF?

2. Books

It’s probably my Mum’s fault. She has always been a voracious reader. I guess she afflicted me with the same illness. I have found that if you are traveling outside the U.S. for six weeks, nothing will make you feel at home like a William Gay or Tom Franklin book. I have a Kindle but it’s not quite the same as physically turning pages.

3. Phone

I guess it goes without saying that we all take our little handheld computers everywhere we go, at this point. But I can’t say enough about how amazing it is to be able to hit a button and actually SEE your family instead of just hearing their voices. Technology makes touring a lot easier than it was in the “payphone” days. 

4. Reading glasses

In order for the previous two items to make sense, I now have to bring along the glasses that will make those things possible. I remember several years ago, in an airport, trying to read the customer service phone number on the back of a credit card and not being able to do it. It was at that moment I knew … yer getting old, buddy.

5. Setlists

I don’t mean the actual physical setlists, but I keep a record of what we played at every show, every year, every tour so I can reference that for every city that we visit. It would be a bummer for someone to see a show in their city that was too similar to the one we played there during our previous visit. Keeping it interesting is very important.

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

For more of our Rider Essentials series, go here.

Image: Supplied