Blackberry Smoke / Robert Jon & the Wreck @ CBD Kratom Backyard, Arlington, TX

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
If you have ever browsed the pages of MTC MAG in the past, you may have noticed I have a particular fondness for a certain band. This group of musicians is not a household name. They do not win awards. But they do play honest music that people can relate to, and that, IMHO is what really makes a great band! If you haven’t figured out who I’m talking about let me give you a hint: the first word is Blackberry, the second is Smoke.

Noted for being a hard-working band, their current tour has been true to form. With the jet lag barely worn off after a successful tour of Europe, they were at it again twelve days later playing US dates. They will play a string of shows running through August, concluding with another date back in the UK. That makes me tired just writing it!

Tonight’s show at the CBD Kratom Backyard in Arlington, Texas was somewhat of a welcome back to America. Understandably, a couple band members looked a bit tired when they walked on stage, but quickly came to life after the first few notes. And not to mention they had also put in work prior to the concert promoting the Lana Turner Foundation’s Ride for a Cure earlier in the day. For more info on the Lana Turner Foundation please visit

Blackberry is also known for having some pretty respectable opening acts, tonight was no exception as Robert Jon & the Wreck set it off with a tough to beat lead off set. Following a down to earth vibe, Robert Jon provides an element that is part Southern Cali rock and part jam band. Lead guitarist, Henry Schneekluth, presents scorching leads over a solid foundation laid by bassist, Warren Murrel, drummer Andrew Espantman, and the band’s newest member, keyboardist Jake Abernathie. Gaining new fans, Robert Jon and company lay it on thick with their closer, “Cold Night”. After May first, the Wreck will be traveling alone with shows in the US and Europe. Check them out on a stage near you!

After 29 years of making music, Blackberry’s set is as polished as ever, even if they were a bit frayed from a month of European dates. A beautiful Texas night was a perfect backdrop in this open-air venue. They have their constant, must plays that always get the audience involved. One song that accomplishes this is “Sleeping Dogs”. Their original composition morphs into a 10-minute opus, complete with a nod to Tom Petty with a cover of, “You Don’t Know How It Feels.” This usually opens the door for a massive group sing-a-long experience.

After seeing them live five times, I am still excited to hear what they may work into their show. Tonight, I heard a couple of rarities, “What Comes Naturally” and the most fitting, “Sunrise In Texas.” The latter may be a new favorite! As per usual the climax of the show is, “Ain’t Much Left of Me”, the variable is which song will they work into the breakdown? Previously they’ve included Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks”, Marley’s “Three Little Birds”, and Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky”. Tonight, it’s a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd with “Mississippi Kid”. And no matter what the song the fans know every word and make themselves heard! A big thanks to CBD Kratom Backyard for hosting and the Blackberry Smoke crew for allowing MTC MAG to be there once again!

Photos of the show are below:

Robert Jon & the Wreck
Blackberry Smoke
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Blackberry Smoke / Robert Jon & the Wreck @ CBD Kratom Backyard, Arlington, TX Blackberry Smoke / Robert Jon & the Wreck @ CBD Kratom Backyard, Arlington, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on April 17, 2023 Rating: 5
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