Like their heroes Lynyrd Skynyrd before them, Atlanta-based Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke sometimes pull back on the throttle of their multi-guitar attack. This often results in more county-sounding tracks. For evidence, look no further than Blackberry Smoke's new collaboration with Amanda Shires, "Let Me Down Easy."
The band goes unplugged on this gentle ballad. Shires and lead singer Charlie Starr sing it duet style, with the verses unraveling the consequences of an impending break-up. The lack of electric guitar riffs doesn't mean the band fell back on a sparse or simplistic arrangement. Instead, a little bottleneck slide work finds the band celebrating Southern roots that run deeper than classic rock.
Shires deserves ample credit for the song's potential as a memorable single. When she harmonizes with Starr on the chorus, she becomes the ideal Emmylou Harris for him as he pulls off his best Gram Parsons.
"Let Me Down Easy" is the latest digital single off Find a Light, which arrives on April 6. Prior single "Flesh and Bone" relied more on heavier rock elements fans have come to expect from the band. With additional album tracks including guest appearances by the Wood Brothers ("Mother Mountain") and Robert Randolph ("I'll Keep Ramblin'"), here's hoping that Starr and his bandmates keep on using their platform to explore the South's rich musical culture.