The Many Sounds of Zac Brown

A few days ago, one of my friends, who is a huge Zac Brown fan, shared a video with me on Facebook. It was of a performance they did a few weeks ago on Saturday Night Live with Chris Cornell. A song from their new album called “Heavy is the Head”.

This song sounds more like a heavy metal song than a country song, and my friend seemed rather shocked with this new Zac Brown sound. I can’t say I really blame him, and he probably wasn’t the only one. I think most people are accustomed to the “Chicken Fried” Zac Brown, and while I also think that he does a phenomenal job writing and performing country music, it’s pretty clear that he’s trying to move on and develop a new sound. I don’t think this is the first step he has made toward developing that new sound, either.

A few weeks ago, I picked up the latest album from the Foo Fighters called Sonic Highways. Now I know what you’re thinking, the Foo Fighters are not even remotely close to being a country band, and I completely agree. However, they have a song on this new album called “Congregation” which was written and recorded in Nashville and features Zac Brown on guitar.

This is clearly not a country song. Even before this new album though, Zac Brown and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters have been playing together. When Zac Brown debuted his song “Day For the Dead” on the 2013 CMA awards, it featured Dave Grohl playing drums onstage with the rest of the Zac Brown Band.

This song, to me, has a bit more country sound to it, and it features the classic Zac Brown beanie that everyone knows and loves. However, I think this is about the time that Zac Brown started moving out of country music and more into rock. If you go on YouTube, you can find a ton of videos of Zac Brown covering Metallica, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath and a lot of other classic rock bands, and he does an excellent job of it.

Personally, when I got to high school I kind of started listening to more classic rock along with some country music, and to see someone like Zac Brown who seems just as comfortable performing new country music as he does performing oldies rock hits is pretty awesome. There are some people who probably think of Zac Brown as a purely country artist, but the truth is he and his band are extremely talented. With that kind of talent, I say if they want to mix in some rock and roll with country, more power to them.


Filed under Country Rock, Live Music, Music Videos, Southern Rock

3 Responses to The Many Sounds of Zac Brown

  1. Samantha Godfrey

    I agree with you that I would love to hear more rock influence throughout their country songs. It would most definitely stand out against today’s country songs, which in my opinion would only make it more popular. However, when I did watch Zac Brown Band on SNL with his more toned body, beard shaved, and new apparel, I automatically thought of Taylor Swift. Not because they are anything alike, but because when she began mixing pop with country she eventually ended up deserting country music altogether. I would really hate to see that from the Zac Brown Band, but I will admit I think they could make it big in the rock genre. Maybe their popularity with country, and now experimenting with rock, could have the rock industry become a mainstream popular genre once again.

  2. James Pruitt

    It’s weird how we wrote almost the exact same blog post. Great minds think alike, I guess. Anyway, I completely agree with you that Zac Brown Band is much more versatile than most people think. All the members of his band are extremely talented musicians. I’m still conflicted about what I want the band to do going forward. I’m a fan of classic rock too, and watching the YouTube videos of the different classic rock covers left me wanting more. At the same time, I’m a huge fan of their established country sound as well. I think whatever the band decides to do, I’ll continue to listen.

  3. Abby Shamis

    I never realized how versatile Zac Brown Band is. I’m one of those people that when I think of Zac Brown I want to put my “toes in the water and a** in the sand.” The band is very talented and they should continue to pursue exploring all aspects of music, but I would forever miss them if they left country music all together. I’m hoping that they will continue to dabble in rock and remain in country, but that’s just my opinion. Like Samantha mentioned, this is becoming more reminiscent of Taylor Swift. She started as just dabbling before she switched over to pop all together. Not saying this will happen with ZBB, but either way I know their talent will prove their success.

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