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Stars Pick Their Top 5! This Week: Blackberry Smoke

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Atlanta, Georgia rock 'n' roll band Blackberry Smoke has been bringing its brand of honky-tonk meets dusty Skynyrd-isms to an expanding fanbase for 17 years, supporting the likes of Gov't Mule, the Zac Brown Band, ZZ Top and, indeed, Skynyrd in the process. This is sweet, sexy country rock, cocksure and smart. They're anything but fashionable in a tepid fixed-gear, craft-beer world, but it don't matter. They drip with Southern charm, get amped on R&B and soul, and there's some redneck darkness in there that would've made Tom Dowd proud in the control room. The band hits Tucson this week, so we spoke to frontman Charlie Starr about the five albums that changed his life.

1. The Rolling Stones—Exile On Main St.: This is my favorite rock n' roll album of all time. It's so greasy and groovy and full of everything that I love: blues, gospel, country. It's a melting-pot record. True masterpiece.

2. Aerosmith—Rocks: This is the album that made me want to play loud, aggressive music. The guitar tones are massive, the songs are fast and in your face, and Steven Tyler howls like a banshee over the top of it all.

3. The Allman Brothers Band—At Fillmore East: The South's greatest band. I'll never forget hearing "Statesboro Blues" for the first time and thinking, not only is this guy playing the best slide guitar I've ever heard, but this is the best "blues" band I've ever heard as well. Little did I know that they were only in their early 20s at the time that album was recorded. Unreal.

4. Guns N' Roses—Appetite for Destruction: This album made all the ridiculous hair bands look and sound silly. It was real and dirty and the complete antithesis of the pretty-boy garbage that was topping the charts at the time. Maybe the best album of the '80s.

5. The Black Crowes—Shake Your Money Maker: Much like Appetite before it, this album was an awakening for music fans who were being lulled to sleep by homogenized pop. It lowered the boom on the bands and artists doing music for the wrong reasons. The songs are just incredible and the record has strut and swagger that few other bands could pull off then or even now. Georgia boys.

With The Cadillac Three on Friday, July 21 at 8 p.m., Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., $27-$30, all ages.


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