Aaron Lewis and Blackberry Smoke - Sinners and Sanctified Tour

Aaron Lewis and Blackberry Smoke - Sinners and Sanctified Tour

Alex Williams

Wed, November 15, 2017

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

Wicomico Youth & Civic Center

Salisbury, MD

GA Pit: $49.50 | RSVD: $35 - $49.50 | $5 increase DOS

General Admission Pit: $49.50; Reserved: $35, $42.50, $49.50 | $5 increase DOS

To RSVP to the official Facebook event, click here.

Tickets are also available at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center box office or by calling 410-548-4911. 

Aaron Lewis
Aaron Lewis
Grammy nominated and multi-platinum artist, Aaron Lewis is set to release his sophomore solo album later this year on Big Machine Label Group’s DOT Records.

The former Staind front man first made his country debut in 2011 with certified gold single “Country Boy” followed by the release of his first full length solo album, The Road. “Country Boy” featured Charlie Daniels on fiddle and a booming verse from George Jones as well as Chris Young striking a balance between classic and modern country.

Lewis’ introspective, personal and relatable lyrics are proof that country music is about lifestyle and values, not necessarily where you were raised. And as Country Weekly exclaims “…make no mistake, he is a truck-drivin’, gun-totin’ country boy.” Lewis attributes country as something that has always inspired him. Growing up in rural Vermont the singer/songwriter spent summers with his WWII veteran grandfather hunting and fishing. During that time, he developed a love for the land, the woods, and the simple life, which still permeates everything he does.

And there was one specific soundtrack to those times. “I was raised on Country music," Lewis says. "My grandfather listened to Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Hank Jr., and all of the greats."
And those influences are evident on stage in his new songs and in Staind hits he often performs such as "Outside," "It's Been Awhile," and "So Far Away."
Blackberry Smoke
Blackberry Smoke
Blackberry Smoke has never been a band that stands still. Whether pursuing the dream by logging hundreds of thousands of miles on America’s highways and abroad or relentlessly exploring the many facets of its most unique art form, the Atlanta quintet is always on the move.

The songs on Blackberry Smoke’s sixth album, Like an Arrow, due October 14, show just how far this authentic American rock band has come as the accomplished group of musicians tackles a diverse set of new ideas, sounds and territories, long after most bands with half the success might have settled into a well-worn groove.

“We’re all likeminded in that we all want to explore,” singer and principal songwriter Charlie Starr said. “There’s just no way we could make the same record over and over again, though there are some fans who would like us to. That’s just way too formulaic. If the Beatles or Led Zeppelin did that, we wouldn’t love them as much.”

Like An Arrow continues the trend of sonic exploration established on the Blackberry Smoke’s previous two releases, 2012’s The Whippoorwill and 2015’s chart-topping Holding All the Roses. It kicks off with the band’s heaviest song to date and explores British rock before moving on to musical stops in places like Macon, Woodstock, Muscle Shoals and Tulsa as Starr and his buddies follow the ramblin’ examples of timeless, authentic acts like The Allman Brothers Band, JJ Cale, The Band and others who define rock ‘n’ roll in all its many facets.

“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.’”

That’s what Starr, Paul Jackson (guitar), Brandon Still (keyboards), Brit Turner (drums) and Richard Turner (bass) have been doing for 16 years now after forming in 2001. The quintet’s blue-collar work ethic, road-dog attitude – the band averages 250 shows a year – and willingness to jam all night long have left Blackberry Smoke with a grassroots fan base that continues to grow show by show.

Holding All the Roses, produced by Grammy Award winner Brendan O’Brien, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and No. 7 on the Rock Albums chart, proof of the band’s universality. Praised by fellow artists as diverse as Dierks Bentley and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Blackberry Smoke now delivers an album that should invite even more fans under its revival tent.

Produced by the band with O’Brien’s engineer Billy Bowers handling the recording, Like An Arrow sounds and feels exactly how the band wanted it to.
“I think that it pleasantly surprised everybody involved,” Starr said. “Not that I think working with a producer is a bad thing because it’s a very good thing. But sometimes you just go with your gut and my gut told me, ‘Let’s make this record.’ We stretched out on some songs, of course, and obviously the record is a bit more hi-fi than my homemade demos. But it really was going back to let’s get in a room and play the music.”

Like An Arrow leads off with “Waiting For The Thunder,” a song driven by dark images, towering guitars and Still’s storm-driven B3 Hammond organ. Starr says the song sets the tone for where the album lives.

“It’s dynamic and big, it’s exciting,” Starr said. “When we recorded it, from the very beginning, I felt like this was going to be the song that would lead off the record because it sort of stands alone as far as the level of excitement that the song throws at you, just right off the bat.”
The band continues its exploration of amped-up territory on the title track, a psychedelic blast of heavy metal transcendentalism.

“There are some songs that are heavier than anything we’ve ever recorded - it’s a far cry,” Starr said. “’Like An Arrow’ is the closest thing to Black Sabbath that I think we’ve ever recorded in a way. I think it surprised everybody when we pressed record and started to play it. We were like, ‘Oh, my God, this thing is massive.’"

Blackberry Smoke heads hard in the other direction, too, backing off the four-on-the-floor for different textures. “Believe You Me,” for instance, is a disco-tinged, bottom-heavy blast of country funk.
“It is one of the handful of departures on the record,” Starr said. “’Waiting For The Thunder’ or ‘Like An Arrow’ might place the album in a certain genre - whichever box might make you feel comfortable – and ‘Believe You Me’ will come along and shake up the norm. It’s not what I would consider formulaic.”

“Sunrise In Texas,” a Michael Tolcher song that’s been a fixture in Blackberry Smoke’s live set for a decade, finally makes it onto album here, also because of its uniqueness. The song opens with dobro and electric piano before building to a long-form crescendo that lets the band show off its well-honed musicianship. “Running Through Time,” written with friend Travis Meadows, takes a look at life through the eyes of an old man looking back at the struggles of his youth on a song that’s carried along on an airy, lilting guitar line like nothing else the band’s recorded.

“We both led wild lives throughout our 20s and some of our 30s, doing similar types of bad things,” Starr said. “And we laugh about it now. And so we were talking about writing a song about that idea: Who he is now and what he might have learned - and maybe what he didn’t. The yin and the yang of the young and old man. That’s the trippy one. That’s the mushroom song. Like JJ Cale recording in Muscle Shoals.”
Gregg Allman joins the band on “Free On The Wing,” a song that brings it all back home after the musical journey.

“That’s a very Macon, Georgia, kinda song,” Starr said. “To me that type of song just embodies the whole Southern rock idea to me. Because it sounds like it came out of the river, out of the Chattahoochee, out of the Southeastern United States where we all grew up. And to have Gregg Allman sing on it perfectly completes it.”
Alex Williams
Alex Williams
Alex Williams is a self-described “long-haired writer and singer of songs.” He jokingly quips that he blames his father for exposing him to 80’s hair metal as a kid and credits his grandad for setting him straight with Willie, Waylon, and Billy Joe Shaver.

Originally from Pendleton, Indiana on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Williams has been paying his dues as a songwriter in Nashville and in the biker bars and beer joints in parts unknown for the past eight years. He’s currently working on his debut album with Grammy-winning producer Julian Raymond (Glen Campbell, Hank Williams, Jr., Cheap Trick, et. al.).
Venue Information:
Wicomico Youth & Civic Center
500 Glen Avenue
Salisbury, MD, 21804
http://www.wicomicociviccenter.org/
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