Blackberry Smoke is a Southern Rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. A friend from Germany a couple of years ago turned me onto their music. They are really great musicians who have an unique sound with lyrics that really speak to their fans. These guys are really down to earth and friendly to old and new fans. All fans are addressed as Brothers and Sisters. I first saw them in New York a couple of years ago and was really surprised that the place was packed with anything but your typical concert crowd in New York City. Turned out most fans at the show, had traveled from other states to see their favorite band. The crowd sung along with every song performed. I again saw Blackberry Smoke on the Outlaw Country Cruise a couple of years later. The cruise consisted of 20 plus bands with Blackberry Smoke being the headliner. At this cruise we met many of their diehard fans who came from all over the USA and Europe to get their dose of Blackberry Smoke on the high seas. Many of these fans have over 50 times attending a Blackberry Smoke concert under their belt. They belong to Facebook Fan pages and are like one big Blackberry Smoke family sharing a friendship that I have seldom seen with other bands.
I was told a must concert to to attend of Blackberry Smoke was at The Shed in Maryville, Tennessee, that takes place every May. Always up for a new experience, we bought our tickets and made our travel arrangements. The band played Friday and Saturday night concerts. On Sunday there was a charity motorcycle ride led by the drummer and bass player, who are both avid bikers. The Shed is basically a big shed with no side walls and a stage. You can choose to stand under the Shed or outside the Shed and still see the band. Right next to the Shed is a Harley Davidson dealer. I attended both sold out concerts. The band played all their hits along with a Tom Petty song and much to my surprise a Black Sabbath song. It is not unusual for the band to do covers of other bands songs. Both shows were great and we met fans from all over the world who came to the shows. On Sunday morning we arrived at 9 AM, on our rented Harley, for the Blackberry Smoke Brothers and Sisters Roll Out Ride.
I would say over 60 bikes were in the ride. Kick stands were up around 10 am and off we went through the rolling hills of Tennessee. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm. We made a couple of stops along the way were fans could hang and talk with the members of the band on the ride. The highlight of the day was to ride the famous section of road called the Dragon's Tail. Eleven miles of twists and turns. Everybody in the ride made it through in one piece and did not end up on the tree of shame. We all got back to the shed late afternoon after a long day of riding. Great time had by all and the entry fee per rider went to the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, the chosen charity supported by the band.
Tennessee is great state for riding. Beautiful lakes and streams, rolling mountains, forest and great roads. People are friendly and welcoming. Another highlight for me was doing some Moonshine tastings.
There is still plenty of illegal Moonshine to be had if you know the right people, but now a days there is plenty of commercial Moonshine for sale. Stop buy any distillery, and taste over 20 different flavors of moonshine. After one tasting, you are feeling pretty good, best not to drive or ride until a couple of hours. Overall a great trip. I would highly recommend to listen to the music of Blackberry Smoke, even better, attend one of their concerts. The state of Tennessee is also a highly recommended vacation destination. Hope to see you next year at the Blackberry Smoke Shed Concert and Roll Out Ride.
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