DIARY - 9 AUGUST 2010 - ZAC BROWN CD REVIEW
ZAC BROWN BAND
THE FOUNDATION (ATLANTIC-SHOCK)
FRIED AND BROWN
god for my life/ and for the stars and stripes/ may freedom forever fly,
let it ring/ salute the ones who died/ and the ones that gave their lives
so we don`t have to sacrifice/ all the things we love/ like our chicken
fried." - Chicken Fried - Zac Brown-Wyatt Durrette.
broke with a song first recorded by the recently defunct Virginia band
Lost Trailers in 2006.
But it was another two years before that southern delicacy Chicken
Fried became the first of three #1 country hits on the Zac Brown Band's
slow burning eclectic fourth album that has now sold two million copies.
The Georgian quintet delivers a hedonistic hybrid of country and reggae
- a formula pioneered by singing sailor Jimmy Buffett and homogenised
by Tennessee superstar Kenny Chesney.
But that's not all for a band tipped to tour here next year on the lucrative
summer-autumn festival circuit.
So why is the Zac Brown Band one of the few free-range acts to storm across
the regimented radio moat?
They toss fried chicken, beer, mama, love, children, freedom and soldiers
into a bucolic blender that refines radio roughage.
Sure, there's a freewheeling flavour to their music but, like many Dixie
peers, there's a patriotic pistol firing up their brew.
The Chicken Fried video clip extols the laid back culinary delights
of the processed poultry but then there's also that highly visible nod
to military ancestors and modern warriors for the freedom to enjoy it.
Not quite as blatant as the flag fuelled swagger of Toby Keith, Charlie
Daniels and Hank Williams Jr but the message is quite clear.
my toes in the water, ass in the sand/ not a worry in the world, a cold
beer in my hand/ life is good today, life is good today/ adios and vaya
con Dios/ yeah, I'm leaving Georgia/ gonna lay in the hot sun and roll
a big fat one/ and grab my guitar and play." Toes - Zac Brown-Wyatt
Durrette-John Hopkins-Shawn Mullins
no surprise that tasty freedom dish is re-fried for idyllic bliss
in album entrée Toes, replete with references to rolling
a big fat one - definitely not one of those fried or grilled hamburgers.
The Toes video is introduced as a home movie to illustrate
the male lead yearning to flee the red Georgia clay for the cleansing
white sands of The Bahamas and beyond.
Yes, it's a theme pioneered by Buffett and resurrected here to good
effect with a sting in the tail of the tale of the video version.
uses salient sequencing.
Toes by delving into the inadequacies of being able to express pure
love for a woman in Whatever It Is.
There are no such problems when Brown praises the good old Dixie gal in
A Different Kind Of Fine - a "lawyer's queen and a truckers
She has none of the following high rolling city blemishes.
"Cadillacs and caviar, well that ain't how she rolls/ implants and
tummy tucks, she sure don't need those."
Brown further exploits the recurring oceanic freedom in Where That
Boat Leaves From.
For balance - not ballast - he follows with the harmonic, hook heavy Free
smouldering under a harvest moon.
I'll drive and I'll think about my life/ and wonder why, that I'll slowly
die inside/ every time I turn that truck around, right at the Georgia
line/ and I count the days and the miles/ back home to you on that Highway
20 ride." - Highway 20 Ride - Zac Brown-Wyatt Durrette
But the artistic
peak of the disc could be tear jerking road song Highway 20 Ride.
It's the flip side of the escapist anthems embroidering this joyous journey.
Brown reaches deep into melancholic mixed emotions in his reading of a
letter from a divorced dad to a son.
He contrasts the magnetic pull of home and career priorities as he crosses
Georgia state borders.
It's an evocative reflection of guilt and regret of an absentee father
torn between the lure and demands of the road.
Sure, it's a theme touched upon in many country songs but the powerful
video nails it.
The band also reaches beyond the mainstream with bluegrass in the love
lament Mary - the poignant tale of a man chasing after a cautious
This eclectic feel is refreshing.
Bassist John Driskell Hopkins' rollicking summary justice saga It's
Not OK features Jerry Reed style chicken-picking guitar.
Zac's vocals here are akin to Asleep At The Wheel singer Ray Benson or
maybe Floridian singing satirist Rev Billy C Wirtz.
A battered, bruised beau pleads for penitence in Ray LaMontagne's fiddle
fuelled Jolene - only song sourced from outside the quintet.
More off the wall is feathered finale Sic 'Em On A Chicken - a
barnyard battle between dog and chook delivered as a monologue.
Such animal kingdom frolics diversify a disc Brown produced with Keith
Stegall - studio Svengali for Alan Jackson and John Anderson.
Those sessions were in Atlanta and Compass Point, The Bahamas - far from
chart chaff factories.
Guitarist Brent Mason and organist Gary Prim head a small posse of Music
City session supremos helping Brown's road band kick open the radio door.
Yes, a tribute to Stegall's insider trading.
scheduled new album, You Get What You Give, for September 21 release
on Atlantic Records/Southern Ground Artists Inc.
You Get What You Give includes Colder Weather, Who Knows
and As She's Walking Away.
They opened shows for the Dave Matthews Band, The Allman Brothers Lynyrd
Skynyrd and B.B. King.
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