Blackberry Smoke Drummer Brit Turner Passes Away at 57

Renowned musician's legacy leaves a lasting imprint on rock.

by Nouman Rasool
Blackberry Smoke Drummer Brit Turner Passes Away at 57
© Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Brit Turner, the esteemed drummer and co-founder of the Southern rock sensation Blackberry Smoke, passed away at the age of 57 on Sunday. Turner's battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, came to light following his surgery in November 2022 to remove a brain tumor.

His departure was solemnly announced by the band through a heartfelt message on social media, marking a significant loss in the music community. Blackberry Smoke, hailing from Atlanta in 2000, breathed new life into Southern rock, cleverly blending it with country influences and robust guitar riffs.

The band saw notable collaborations and tours, including performances with George Jones and opening for Guns N' Roses, showcasing Turner's powerful drumming as a cornerstone of their sound. Born in Mt. Clemons, Michigan, and raised in Smyrna, Georgia, Turner was the vibrant spirit and driving force behind Blackberry Smoke.

Known for his lively presence, distinctive long beard, and wild hair, he also had a knack for humor, often lightening the mood with his wit. His musical journey began in childhood, with familial influences nurturing his passion for music, leading him to embrace a variety of genres, from rock to Americana and Southern rock.

Journey to Success

Turner's early exploration into music saw him delve into the realms of hard rock and heavy metal before returning to the Southern sounds that would define Blackberry Smoke. The band's journey to success was marked by their hit "Good One Comin' On" and albums such as 'The Whippoorwill' and 'Holding All the Roses,' the latter reaching number one on the country charts.

Their music, a testament to their dedication and hard work, resonated with fans across genres, solidifying their place in the music industry. Despite his health challenges, Turner's artistic contributions extended beyond the drum set.

He had a hand in the visual aspects of the band's albums and continued to perform until his health necessitated a step back. His legacy, encapsulated in the band's latest work and the memories of those who knew him, continues to inspire.

Turner's philosophy on success, emphasizing the importance of connection with fans and relentless effort, remains a guiding principle for Blackberry Smoke. As the music community mourns the loss of such a talented and beloved artist, Turner's impact on Southern rock and the lives he touched will not be forgotten.