Even for the hard working Blackberry Smoke, a band that has been at it since 2001, the past four years have been productive ones. This is the third studio album the Southern rocking quintet has released since 2012’s The Whipperwill breakthrough, along with a live disc and simultaneous DVD of a typically energetic 2014 performance. While the group’s direction stays rooted in the red clay soil that has created its solid and growing fan base, they expand their boundaries, in a good way, for Like an Arrow.
It’s likely Blackberry Smoke will never entirely break free of the Lynyrd Skynyrd comparisons attached to the dueling guitars/keyboards sound they traffic in. Still, there is stylistic room to roam. Songs such as the tough, sinewy riff heavy title track, the Bad Company/Brit rock inspired opening “Waiting for the Thunder” with its arm-waving chorus, the grinding rocker “Ought to Know,” and blue collar anthem “Working for a Working Man” are some of the hardest, most powerful tracks in Smoke’s studio history.