I was decidedly disappointed in Blackberry Smoke’s Brendan O’Brien-produced 2015 album Holding All the Roses. The follow-up to The Whippoorwill, their phenomenal 2012 outing, was a mixed bag. While it debuted at No. 1 on the country charts and had a few fantastic tunes, to my ear, it was at times a little too squeaky clean in its production and often missing the attitude and emotion of its predecessor.
For Like an Arrow, due in October, the band took the production reins back and the first single, “Waiting for the Thunder,” certainly doesn’t lack in the attitude department. It’s a straight-up, Southern-flavored hard rocker. After a rowdy opening riff, vocalist Charlie Starr lays out his take on the mood and state of the world today, warning in the chorus about “2,000 years of fury in the big, black sky,” and asking, “While we’re waiting on the thunder, will the lightning get us all?”
After a couple of verses, we’re treated to an organ run, followed by a gritty guitar solo from Paul Jackson. He delivers a fairly simplistic lick, but filled with growl and heavily influenced by Billy Gibbons. It’s a tasty lead that fits right in with the ominous tone of the song.
All in all, the song rocks harder than just about anything Blackberry Smoke has ever done, and it’s a nice introduction to the new record. I thought Holding All the Roses needed a little more grit, grime and attitude than it had, and if “Waiting for the Thunder” is any indication, maybe we’ll get some of that back on Like an Arrow.
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