Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

August 16, 2013

Southern rock band headlines show

TRAVERSE CITY — Blackberry Smoke singer Charlie Starr aims to represent the South on Sunday.

The southern rock band headlines a show at the Southside Hideout in Buckley.

“For years, Hollywood has a way of painting the South just one way — that we’re a bunch of backwards dumbasses,” Starr said. “I don’t ever get to watch much television, but it can be disturbing the way movies can paint a picture of the South. It’s kind of a bummer. It’s not all tobacco-spitting and racism. There’s a thick, underlying current of beautiful culture in the South.”

The band’s five members hail from Georgia, Alabama, Florida and South Carolina.

Starr said the South is often maligned, but he tries to appreciate the region’s highlights.

“When I got a little older, I was just fascinated listening to my grandmother talk about the past,” he said. “Just hearing about when she was a child in the Great Depression. She lived in eastern Alabama, very rural. Her dad was a hog farmer.”

One day, he asked her out of curiosity what they did with their garbage. She thought about it and told him they didn’t really have much. What little they had, they burned, but they grew and raised most of their own food, used cloth diapers, anything you bought from a store came in reusable burlap bags.

“I think a lot of songs on ‘The Whippoorwill’ kind of have that thread running through it,” Starr said of the band’s 2012 album. “I was thinking a lot about older Southern culture. But not just tailgates and Budweiser and ‘Hey, let’s party on the weekend.’ There’s beautiful culture in the South — and ignorance is not it.”

Gunnar and The Grizzly Boys and the Paula Nelson Band are openers for the $25 show, which starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at RPM Records, the Southside Hideout and startickets.com.

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