Indie band Blackberry Smoke tops in country album sales—for third time

Snip from "Ain't Much Left of Me"; Blackberry Smoke. (YouTube)

If you don’t know the music of Blackberry Smoke, lend this indie band your ear. The band’s latest release, Find a Light, outsold other country albums to take the top spot. As the website Saving Country Music pointed out, this is for album sales as opposed to sales from all sources including streaming. 

Blackberry Smoke's new album cover: 'Find a Light'. (Blackberrysmoke.com)
Blackberry Smoke’s new album cover: ‘Find a Light’. (Blackberrysmoke.com)

This is the third time Blackberry Smoke sold more albums than other country artists after a new album was launched.

I’d never heard of this band until I discovered them through Saving Country Music. If you like keeping up with music in general, this is a great website. The article about Blackberry Smoke also gives insight into how placement is determined now that streaming is also included in the sales and ranking mix.

It’s been my experience from helping my daughters’ band out that indie supporters do like CDs. We did one release as a download only, but the CDs are preferred by those who come out to hear their music. Streaming is part of our mix, of course, and we’ve been fortunate to be included on some great playlists.

Blackberry Smoke, to me, is doing rock with some roots music and bluesy elements thrown in. Singer and principal songwriter Charlie Starr explained it in a bio at the band’s website:

“We just want the sound of the band to continue to grow and broaden. We’re not trying to make a hip-hop record,” Starr said with a laugh. “But there’s so many elements to what people call rock. There’s gospel and country and swing and blues. We’re just trying to write songs that include all those different types of elements. It keeps it interesting for musicians and songwriters. You think, ‘Well, I don’t have a straitjacket on, I haven’t painted myself into a corner, so I can try and just make the most of this art form.’”

One of my favorite pieces by this band is “Ain’t Much Left of Me.” It was recorded at Southern Ground Studios, a facility in Nashville that is owned by Zac Brown.

The band tours all over, and hopefully radio stations will take note. At present, most radio content is repetitive, based on corporate algorithms and cookie cutter content. Fans on the Blackberry Smoke Facebook page have complained about this; I’ve complained about radio’s reliance on same-old-same-old for some time.

It’s no small feat for an indie band to accomplish so much. I can imagine the work and commitment required. So hat tip to Blackberry Smoke and a thank-you to Saving Country Music for turning me on to this exceptional band.

(Kay B. Day/April 20, 2018)

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