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
- 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".
- 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.
- Long Runner Lineup: The group began as a quintet, all five of whom are still in the lineup.
- Motor Mouth: "The Wind" is really freaking fast.
- Nice Hat: Zac's skullcap. One of the other members also wears a hat.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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