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April 25--  For 16 years, the five-man band called "Blackberry Smoke" has been making music and doing shows all over from their home base in Atlanta. 

They are in Vidalia this Saturday night for the Vidalia Onion Festival concert on "The Stage at City Park".

bs1" We play anywhere, anywhere that's got a power outlet," says Charlie Starr, their lead singer and primary songwriter, "My Dad is a guitar player-singer, Bluegrass, and I don't have a memory where he wasn't playing and singing, I mean from the cradle, and I think I just got it honest."

The band is what you might call southern rock in the tradition of Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Skynyrd was influenced by the same stuff that we love like blues, gospel, rock and roll, country and jazz.  Bands like Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers were very free musically and weren't trying to fit into any box and we're a band that's also enjoying that kind of idea," Starr said.

Their latest album debuted at Number One on the country charts and Number Seven on the rock charts and included a cut with Gregg Allman,

"We met Gregg a few years ago doing some shows together.  He looms large in our music and it was really cool to become friendly with him.  When we started recording that song on the new album called "Free on the Wing,' I said this sounds like a Macon, Georgia kind of song and I thought it would be really cool if Gregg Allman would sing on it.  The next step was to ask and after hearing the song he said he'd do it.," Starr recalls.

The band averages 250 shows a year and has just returned from a 12-country, six-week concert tour of Europe where Starr says music overcame all the language barriers, "People that come to our shows are happy and come to have a good time.  It doesn't matter what language we're singing in.  They feel it and they have fun," he says.

Advance tickets are on sale at Vidalia City Hall and the Vidalia Onion Museum and may be linked to buy online at www.vidaliaonionfestival.com.