Blackfoot’s Southern Native Review
Blackfoot studio albums don’t come along all that often. In fact it’s been 22 years since the release of their last album, After the Reign. So when asked whether we’d like to have a listen to Southern Native ahead of it’s release on 5 August, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
Although Blackfoot have long been defined by the hard rock edge they bring to southern rock music, they’ve never been afraid to adapt their musical style and lineup as times and music tastes change. And Southern Native represents probably the biggest change to date, because for the first time since Blackfoot formed 46 years ago, there are no original members in the band’s lineup.
The Blackfoot of 2016 consists of Tim Rossi (lead guitar/vocals), Rick Krasowski (guitar/vocals), Brian Carpenter (bass) and Matt Anastasi (drums). Original founding member Rickey Medlocke who you’ll know as the guitarist from Lynyrd Skynyrd, wrote and produced the new album plus he plays some guitar parts on it too.
So, not unexpectedly, Southern Native isn’t an album which is brim full of southern rock songs, but nor is it a balls-to-the-wall heavy rock album either. It sits somewhere in between. Sure, there are some brilliant rockers with big riffs and blazing guitar solos such as Need My Ride, Call Of A Hero and Whiskey Train, but there are also plenty occasions throughout the album such as it’s title track where Blackfoot’s southern heritage shines.
The band also break into r&b territory with the brilliant Everyman. It’s the kind of song that wouldn’t be out of place in a Vintage Trouble show and is for me one of the highlights of the album. Another is their take on CSNY’s Ohio. While the original version revolves around the incomparable harmonies only CSNY can achieve, Blackfoot’s version kicks the guitars up to 11 and gives the old protest song a much harder, contemporary edge. Right at the end of this version is a nice callout to Neil Young with the inclusion of one of the lines from a certain Lynryd Skynryd song. I’ll leave that for you to discover though! I guess some people might not appreciate a classic such as Ohio being given this kind of makeover, but I think it works brilliantly.
As I said earlier, Blackfoot have never been afraid to try new things, and final track Diablo Loves Guitar is a perfect example. It’s almost as if the band took a break from their recording studio in Florida and headed across the Gulf to hang out in a Mexican bar with a Mariachi band – then decided to include the result on the album! Totally unexpected, brilliantly performed and a cool way to round out the album.
Southern Native is a great album which has plenty for long standing fans of the band to enjoy and certainly has enough about it to attract new followers. Although the band are touring the US extensively this summer there’s no word as to whether they’ll be heading over this side of the Atlantic any time soon. Fingers crossed something might transpire in the near future, because if Southern Native is any guide, this incarnation of Blackfoot are definitely gonna be worth seeing live.
Southern Native is available on 5 August. In the meantime, check out the newly released video to title track Southern Native
1 Need My Ride
2 Southern Native
4 Call Of A Hero
5 Take Me Home
6 Whiskey Train
7 Satisfied Man
9 Love This Town
10 Diablo Loves Guitar