Country music group.
Dahlonega, Georgia, native Zac Brown formed the Zac Brown Band in 2002. At its inception, the group consisted of Brown as lead vocalist and guitarist, fiddler Jimmy De Martini, and bassist John Driskell Hopkins. Guitarist and organist Coy Bowles, who joined the group in 2004, and drummer Chris Frayer, a member since 2008, completed the band’s line-up for their major-label debut album, The Foundation (2008), which became a best-selling country album. In 2009, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Clay Cook, a former member of the Marshall Tucker Band, became the group’s sixth member. All the members of the Zac Brown Band have diverse résumés outside the country music genre, ensuring the group’s ability to reach across genre boundaries and ultimately to defy categorization.
Before becoming a major national country act, the Zac Brown Band quietly developed a devoted grassroots following by maintaining a rigorous tour schedule of over two hundred concerts a year, opening for diverse performers, including ZZ Top, Etta James, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Travis Tritt. In 2003, Brown founded the record label Home Grown and recorded the band’s first three albums, which sold over twenty thousand copies altogether.
After signing with Atlantic Records in 2008, the Zac Brown Band did not change its sound, style, or songs. The group continued to cover songs by music legends like Charlie Daniels, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison. Tracks on The Foundation ranged from light-hearted Jimmy Buffett–esque island numbers to traditional bluegrass songs in which band members displayed their considerable instrumental skills. Some of the songs, such as the number one country single “Chicken Fried,” were re-recordings of songs from the group’s self-released albums. The Foundation achieved instant success, debuting at number three on the Billboard Top Country Album Chart. Five tracks from that album reached number one, and the album was certified double platinum. In 2009 the band received the Best New Artist Grammy Award and won the Academy of Country Music’s Top New Vocal Duo or Group Award.
After becoming a force on the country music charts, the Zac Brown Band refused to be pigeon-holed into a specific genre or fan base, performing at Bonnaroo Music Festival and opening for the Dave Matthews Band. The Zac Brown Band’s sophomore album with Atlantic Records, You Get What You Give, was released in September 2010.
Cite this Entry
"Zac Brown Band," Encyclopedia of Appalachia, 2017, Encyclopedia of Appalachia. 25 May 2017 <http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=19>
"Zac Brown Band." (2017) In Encyclopedia of Appalachia, Retrieved May 25, 2017, from Encyclopedia of Appalachia: http://www.encyclopediaofappalachia.com/entry.php?rec=19
Zac Brown Band