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Zac Brown Band

Pass The Jar - Zac Brown Band and Friends Live from the Fabulous Fox Theatre In Atlanta – 2010 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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Just as there is comfort food, so also is there comfort music. And the Zac Brown Band is unquestionably comfort music. "Pass the Jar" documents a recent benefit concert to rebuild the Georgia Theatre and features an all-star lineup made up of both country and non-country performers.

A few of Brown's biggest feel-good hits are naturally performed during this 23-song set, including Whatever It Is, Toes and an especially fine take on Free, which - with the vocal help of Joey + Rory - segues nicely into Van Morrison's Into The Mystic. Joey + Rory also get the chance to perform their hit, Cheater, Cheater as part of the disc's bonus track section where Levi Lowrey, Sonia Leigh and Nic Cowan also take turns singing their respective songs.

Watching Zac Brown Band live, you may realize for the first time what a fine acoustic guitarist the man is. You might also be made aware of just how good the whole group is, instrumentally. Joey + Rory joke at one point about how they'd never fronted a band before this night. "The Zac Brown Band is our first band," Rory quips.

This work comes as a DVD/CD package, and because Brown is not the chick magnet Brad Paisley or Keith Urban is (Sorry Zac), having the audio-only is not any handicap. One CD includes Brown's cover of Bob Dylan's I Shall Be Released, which makes it worth paying for the complete set.

The band's cover choices give keen insight into the Georgia act's musical influences. Southern rock roots are reinforced by The Devil Went down To Georgia, while classic rock is referenced via The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Brown sets the comfort level bar high with his unassuming, un-rock star persona. Dressed in clothes that are more suitable for a day of sweaty lumberjacking, Brown unpretentiously passes the jar during this night's music. But participants easily receive so much more than they give.