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Zac Brown's got the IT factor

Mike Sudhalter  |  May 13, 2010

Zac Brown Band The Zac Brown Band recorded a live album and stepped up for a good cause, in the process.

Quick. What's filled with love and grown in southern ground? Sweet Tea and Pecan Pie, for sure. But also the music of Zac Brown Band.

Brown's live album is much different than his studio release (which is good to see, and I can't say the same for live releases from George Strait and Kenny Chesney).

Brown and his bandmates don't have the look of a country music group, but their sound is often more rootsy than the more overpolished and overproduced music that's coming out of Nashville.

Leave it to a band that built a grassroots following across the American Southeast to do take country music by storm.

Last summer at the CMA Festival, ZBB rocked LP Field in a way that many established superstars could only dream of doing.

And their popularity drew a wide variety of performers to join them on the live performance - Kid Rock, Little Big Town, Joey + Rory and Shawn Mullins, among others).

"It's Not OK" ends with Brown and his band humming "When The Saints Come Marching In," and "Sic 'Em On A Chicken," has an interesting twist - horns, instead of fiddles, like on the studio version.

Leave it to a band with two popular songs with the word, 'chicken,' in it to become one of the hottest things in country music.

And while some have blended Buffett-music and country, few have been able to marry Reggae and country the way ZBB has done it. In fact, it's a natural transition from "Where The Boat Leaves From" to the Bob Marley classic, "One Love."

Brown does a nice, lively cover of Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"

He reveals a different side of himself, not shown on the studio album - and that is duets with female artists such as "Trying To Drive," featuring Aslyn, and "Bar," with Sonia Leigh.

The rollicking "Whiskey's Gone" is clearly the best of ZBB's new songs.

"Chicken Fried" and "Toes" were super-popular, but the ZBB shows that it's versatile beyond its radio hits, and that they have the ability to draw influences from different genres - all the while grasping the "IT" factor that makes them one of the most interesting country music phenomenons in the last quarter-century.

:: Posted at 12:22 PM by Mike Sudhalter ::
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