Beloved Blackberry Smoke Drummer Brit Turner Dead at 57

Beloved Blackberry Smoke Drummer Brit Turner Dead at 57 | Society Of Rock Videos

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Brit Turner, the esteemed drummer and a key figure in the Southern rock band Blackberry Smoke, passed away at the age of 57. The sad news of his demise was confirmed by the band after battling glioblastoma, a form of brain cancer. Blackberry Smoke expressed profound sorrow in a social media post announcing Turner’s passing:

“It is with the deepest sorrow that we inform everyone that our brother Brit Turner has moved on from this life. If you had the privilege of knowing Brit on any level, you know he was the most caring, empathetic, driven, and endearing person one could ever hope to meet.”

The Heartbeat of Blackberry Smoke

Turner, hailing from Mt. Clemons, Michigan, was known as the heart and soul of Blackberry Smoke. His vibrant personality, epitomized by his long beard, wild hair, and hearty laugh, made him a beloved figure within the band. Turner’s drumming was a focal point of the band’s music, driving their unique blend of Southern rock and country influences. The band described Turner as their “True North,” a compass guiding their musical journey even in his absence.

The band Blackberry Smoke, formed in Atlanta in 2000, quickly became synonymous with a revival of Southern rock, infusing country elements with powerful guitar riffs. Notably, legendary artist George Jones collaborated with them on the album “Little Piece of Dixie” in 2009, while they shared the stage with iconic rock band Guns N’ Roses during a 2019 tour. Turner’s powerhouse drumming provided the pulse behind their music, fueling their exhilarating performances.

In a poignant moment, Turner’s wit and musical passion shone through when he shared a playful exchange in an interview highlighting the band’s success on the country music charts. When it was brought to his attention that the words “Rock & Roll” were displayed on his kick drum, Turner humorously responded, “I have another one that says ‘Country.'”


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Reflecting on his musical journey, Turner disclosed his early exposure to music through his family’s influence. He reminisced about receiving a snare drum as a gift before sixth grade, a pivotal moment that kick-started his musical pursuits. Turner’s musical background, with his father’s involvement in a big band and his family’s musical inclinations, laid the foundation for his eventual foray into the world of drumming and rock music.

Despite his initial fascination with hard rock and heavy metal genres in the 1980s, including bands like AC/DC, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden, Turner’s musical evolution led him back to the roots of Southern rock and Americana. This shift culminated in the formation of Blackberry Smoke with his brother, Richard Turner, and fellow bandmates, establishing a new chapter in their musical journey. Turner candidly shared, “After I got heavy metal out of my system, it was on to straight up rock and roll, Americana, Southern rock, and traditional country.”

Blackberry Smoke’s Milestones and Turner’s Resilience

Blackberry Smoke achieved significant milestones throughout their career, with standout moments such as their success with the song “Good One Comin’ On” in 2009 and the release of the critically acclaimed album “Holding All the Roses” in 2015, which topped the country charts. Turner’s creative contributions extended beyond drumming as he played a pivotal role in the band’s visual identity, designing the album cover for their latest release, “Be Right Here.”

Despite facing health challenges, including a battle with glioblastoma, Turner continued to perform with Blackberry Smoke, showcasing his resilience and dedication to his craft. The band announced Turner’s temporary absence from some shows to focus on his health, emphasizing the band’s unwavering support for their cherished drummer during his medical treatments.

In a reflective moment backstage at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Turner pondered the band’s unexpected rise to success in an era dominated by mainstream country and pop acts. Turner attributed their ascent to a steadfast commitment to authentic performances and the unwavering support of their loyal fan base. He emphasized the band’s diligent work ethic and their genuine connection with audiences as the keys to their enduring popularity.

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