ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Zac Brown Band
By Bob Doerschuk © 2009 CMA Close Up®
News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
On one wall in the Zac Brown Band’s rehearsal space, there’s
a whiteboard covered with details of their many upcoming
gigs. On another, the group has scrawled the titles of their
favorite songs between a Bob Marley banner and framed
pictures of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson.
This décor mirrors the band’s work ethic and reverence for
Country, cooled by an occasional tropical breeze. Those
musical influences ring throughout “Toes,” which opens The
Foundation, produced by Keith Stegall and Brown and released
on Atlantic Records/Home Grown/Big Picture. The laid-back
vibe, gently ticking drums and Tex-Mex flavor of the
choruses says that these guys know what the good life is and
where to find it.
But that’s just where it starts for Brown, a deft guitarist
and expressive singer, guitarist/organist Coy Bowles,
multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook, fiddler Jimmy De Martini,
drummer Chris Fryar and bassist John Driskell Hopkins.
Elements of bluegrass, gospel and Southern rock take their
turn on all 12 tracks, 11 written or co-written by band
members. For example, their first single, “Chicken Fried,”
penned by Brown and Wyatt Durrette, extols the “sweet tea,
pecan pie and homemade wine” back home in Georgia with a
nostalgia that would coax even a Northerner to smile.
After performing extensively as a solo artist, Brown
assembled his band in Atlanta and took them on a trip that’s
led them to open for B. B. King, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sugarland
and Travis Tritt, among others. For all the mileage they’ve
charted on that whiteboard, it only hints at where they’re
going from here.
CD IN YOUR STEREO
“Gossip in the Grain, by Ray LaMontagne.”
FAVORITE FOOD ON TOUR
“The necklace that my wife made for me.”
DREAM DUET PARTNER
SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
“I barter and trade a lot. I trade guitars and tools on
Craigslist, I traded a VW bus for a Scout and dump truck and
I once traded a Jeep for two guitars and an amplifier.”
WHAT YOU’D BE IF YOU WEREN’T AN ARTIST
“A chef or a knife maker.”
“A hybrid of rock, soul, Country, bluegrass and reggae.”
“Zac Brown Band is from the Atlanta, Ga. area.”
(ANSWERS PROVIDED BY ZAC BROWN)