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Charlie Starr's top guitar solos from the south

Blackberry Smoke frontman Charlie Starr picks the most sizzling Southern guitar solos

“There’s something in the water down there,” says Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr, on why the USA’s southern states have produced so many smokin’ guitar solos. “I heard Bono say once that there’s something about music that’s created near a river,” he continues. “It’s in the mud maybe.”

There are so many, in fact, that we asked Charlie (who adds his fair share of southern charm on the Smoke’s new record Like An Arrow) to share his top Top 10 solos of the south.


Duane AllmanHey Jude (Wilson Pickett)

“This is a Duane Allman solo, and if I was putting this list in order then this one would probably be at number one. This was the moment that historians say southern rock’n’roll music started. In that type of music at the time, that r’n’b and soul music nothing like that had ever been heard in a song before. Out of nowhere here came this out of control moment. It was this funky, laid back music and all of a sudden here was this wild guitar player. That solo was a huge moment. He played licks in that solo that he continued to play throughout the rest of his career, it was like they belonged to him.”

Duane Allman/Dickey BettsBlue Sky (Allman Brothers Band)

“Of course this one has two solos. You’ve got Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. They intertwine so well. They were similar in their styles and that is one of the beautiful things about being a guitar nerd when it comes to southern music. Those guys all have their own little nuances that they brought to their guitar solos and their guitar work. When you’re a guitar nerd like me you can say, ‘Oh, that’s Duane for this reason’, or ‘That’s Dickey for that reason.’ We’re out on tour with Gov’t Mule at the moment and we actually played that song when we did a big jam at the end.”


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