On “The Whippoorwill,” they get a little help from fellow Georgia native Zac Brown, who signed the group to his own label in 2011. Working with Mr. Brown seems to have rubbed off on Blackberry Smoke, who temper their twangy, guitar-fueled rock ‘n’ roll by padding this album — their third release — with more ballads and straightforward country numbers than usual. They may look like blue-collar ruffians, but even modern cowboys get tender once in awhile.
Still, “The Whippoorwill” sounds best during its faster moments. This is an album that relies on swagger as much as melody, an album built on swirling organ, loud guitar riffs and stomping percussion. The exception is the title track, a soulful song about regret and nostalgia, which manages to distill the band’s best attributes into five and a half unhurried minutes.
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