"Yeah, we do get pigeonholed by that term a bit, but we don't consider it an insult," said Charlie Starr, singer and guitarist with Blackberry Smoke, one of the latest bands to carry the Southern rock label.
"But we're not a throwback act or a tribute band.
We love those (Southern rock) bands, but for us it's about trying to write good songs that resonate with people."
In fact, Starr
list of songwriting heroes is long and diverse.
, naming Williams' 1951 tune.
, 39, grew up in Lanett, Ala., a small factory town near Auburn where generations of his
family worked in textile mills.
dad played music, bluegrass mostly, and taught him to play guitar.
says more importantly, his
father warned him against a life of mill work.
"It's a bad deal, bad for your ears, bad for your lungs," said Starr
of textile work.
"My dad always said to me, 'Don't even think of working there.' "
After high school Starr
moved to Atlanta to get work as a guitar player.
didn't think of himself as songwriter yet, and mostly just wanted to focus on guitar.
played in cover bands and eventually teamed with the other future members of Blackberry Smoke
, including Richard and Brit Turner, Paul Jackson and Brandon Still.
They were together in the backing band of another musician, Starr
"I think we just all got sick of being in his
band and wanted to be in our own band," said Starr
"So we fired him from his
We started playing songs we had written, that he
never wanted to hear."
As Blackberry Smoke
and his bandmates got their big break when fellow Atlanta resident Jesse James Dupree of the band Jackyl took an interest in them.
took us on tour with him and gave us studio time to make an album," said Starr