Music / Zac Brown Band
band consisting of Zac Brown (guitar, lead vocals), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, backing vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass, banjo, ukulele, upright bass, backing vocals), Coy Bowles (keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums), Clay Cook (guitar, organ, piano, pedal steel, mandolin, backing vocals), Matt Mangano (bass guitar), and Daniel de los Reyes (percussion). The band enjoyed several years of independent success in its native Atlanta, Georgia.
After a series of independent albums, the band broke through in 2008 with the song "Chicken Fried". Originally released through a now-defunct indie label, the song was picked up by Atlantic Records partway through its chart run and included on the album The Foundation
. Both it and three of the album's other singles ("Toes", "Highway 20 Ride" and "Free") went to Number One, and "Whatever It Is" went to number two. Also, the band won a Grammy Award for Best New Artist. That's a good way to start.
A second Atlantic album, You Get What You Give
, was released in late 2010. It produced four straight number 1 singles, including the Alan Jackson
duet "As She's Walking Away", and the number 2 "No Hurry". Uncaged
, their third and final Atlantic album, features "The Wind", "Goodbye in Her Eyes" (another #1), "Jump Right In" (co-written by Jason Mraz
), and "Sweet Annie".
Late in 2013, the band also collaborated with Dave Grohl
on a special EP. It produced another single for them in "All Alright", co-written by Eric Church
. Jekyll + Hyde
followed in 2015, producing the country hits "Homegrown", "Loving You Easy", and "Beautiful Drug", and a #1 Mainstream Rock hit in "Heavy Is the Head" with Chris Cornell
. The latter has made them only the second act after Bon Jovi
to top both the country and rock charts.
- Album Title Drop: You Get What You Give is title-dropped in "Martin".
- Animated Music Video: "The Wind" has one animated by Mike Judge. Yes, that Mike Judge.
- Badass Beard: Zac Brown.
- Bowdlerize: Several radio edits of "Toes" exist, primarily censoring "ass in the sand" in the chorus and "roll a big fat one". The official edit changes "ass in the sand" to "toes in the sand" and silences "fat one", although some stations made their own edits and others just play the uncensored album version. Zac was not pleased, but his co-writer didn't mind.
- Broken Record: "No, we don't have a lot of money" is sung seven times in a row on "Free".
- Continuity Nod: Floaty Boatwood, the fictional lead in the "Toes" video, reappears in "Knee Deep" and "Jump Right In".
- Doo Wop Progression: "As She's Walking Away" uses this in the first half of its verses.
- Early Installment Weirdness: "Chicken Fried" and "Whatever It Is", their first two singles, are noticeably more mainstream than the rest of their catalogue — they're less instrument- and melody-driven than their later work. This is because both were written way before their debut album (in fact, "Chicken Fried" was first recorded in 2006 by The Lost Trailers).
- Also, Coy Bowles and Chris Fryar did not play on the first album, which instead had several session musicians.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: The album version of "Free" opens with a minute-long fiddle solo.
- Genre Roulette: Southern rock, jam band, bluegrass, mainstream country? It's all there. Jekyll + Hyde pushes it Up to Eleven with hard rock ("Heavy Is the Head", "Junkyard"), jazz ("Mango Tree", with Sara Bareilles), EDM ("Beautiful Drug"), and more.
- Long Runner Lineup: In an unusual variant of this trope, all five of the founding members are still in the band, and three more members have been added without anyone leaving.
- Love Is A Drug: "Beautiful Drug" uses the well known metaphor ("Such a beautiful drug, I can't get enough / Got a habit and I'm dying for a hit of your love...").
- Motor Mouth: "The Wind" is really freaking fast.
- Nice Hat: Zac's skullcap.
- Once an Episode: Every album except the Grohl Sessions EP has an upbeat beach-themed song that gets released in the summer ("Toes", "Knee Deep", "Jump Right In", "Castaway").
- One Woman Song: "Sweet Annie".
- Rearrange the Song:
- For some reason, the radio edit of "Chicken Fried" abridges some of the solos and has a few barely discernible organ notes dubbed into the last chorus.
- The radio edit of "All Alright" removes the guitar solo before the bridge.
- There's a remix of "Beautiful Drug" that lessens the EDM elements in favor of more fiddle.
- "Castaway" was remixed for radio by moving the fadeout to the beginning and toning down the bridge a bit.
- Signature Style: Heavy focus on instrumentation and melody, usually fronted by nylon-string guitar and fiddle.
- Subdued Section: They love this trope:
- The third verse of "Chicken Fried" has just nylon-string guitar.
- The final verse of "Colder Weather". A cappella for the first two lines, and just piano for the rest.
- The midsection of "Keep Me in Mind" goes into a slower tempo, with just piano and synthesized strings.
- The third verse of "All Alright" drops most of the instruments and slows down to a waltz before resuming the usual time signature and tempo.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Inverted in "Whiskey's Gone":
Well I stumble my way into my local bar
Where I saw the devil in my glass
The bartender told me it was time to go
I told him that he could lick my sack
- Uncommon Time: "Heavy Is the Head" isn't entirely in 4/4; the chorus is in 6/8, there are measures of 2/4 and 3/4 sprinkled throughout, and most of the ending is in 7/8. Fittingly, the song features Chris Cornell, better known for being in another band that used many odd time signatures.