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Top 50 Groups/Duos: #50 – The Zac Brown Band

March 16, 2009

Zac Brown Band performing in 2008.

Members: Zac Brown (lead vocals, guitar), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, lead and background vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, organ), Chris Fryar (drums) and Clay Cook (guitar, organ, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals)

One of the newest acts of this list, the Zac Brown band have become a surprising success in the country music world with an attractive ability to relate to a whole new generation of classical country fans. Mixing classical strumming, bluegrass picking and a unique style of entertainment the band managed to score a massive #1 with their debut single “Chicken Fried” and a crack the top 5 with their breakthrough record The Foundation.

However, this is not the very beginning of what has already been a four year recording career for the band. They began in 2004 with a self-released album titled Far From Einstyne and would continue with two more projects before finally being co-signed to Atlantic Records and Home Grown/Big Picture Records who headed up the band’s breakthrough single “Chicken Fried”. This song, co written by Zac Brown, was originally a single for fellow new band The Lost Trailers in 2006. Brown decided to retrieve the single for himself and later make it a #1 hit.

Zac Brown was the 11th child of 12 in his family and lived most of his life in Georgia, the proud origin of the band. He began playing and singing in his teens and focused most of his free time on his humanitarian exploits, with much of his musical profits assisting a non-profit program called Homegrown Camp. As their debut album The Foundation entails, the band has a wide range of influences spanning from tropical to contemporary country, making them one of the most diverse acts to hit the scene in quite a while. Some have even come to describe this band as an all-inclusive mix of Chesney, Buffett, Skaggs and Hank.

Recently the band released a follow up single from their album, “Whatever It Is”, which has managed to crack the top 30 on the country charts. To top off everything, they were honored by the Academy Of Country Music with a nomination for New Group/Duo of the Year. With the voting shifted to a fan based vote, the band pulled of an ACM victory courtesy of the fans for the New Group/Duo of the year, an honor that proves all the more why they made this list so early in their run. Not only did they manage to become a surprising and heartwarming success story for the genre in an time of seemingly impending failure for anyone willing to take a chance, but they have managed to bring the acoustic band sound back to country music and capture the hearts of a whole new generation of country fans with a sound more remanicent of the classics.


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