By Lisa Kiser
It may be November, but you’ll want to pull up a lawn chair and prop your feet up while you listen to the latest work from the Zac Brown Band. Their new album The Foundation dropped November 18th, giving those in colder climates a ray of sun to look forward to on the brink of winter shadows. By now, you’ve no doubt gotten a taste of the first single off the album, “Chicken Fried,” which has already enjoyed copious radio play. The playful tune provides a fitting intro to the band’s honest and pleasant depictions of Southern life, served homestyle with an array of 11 other tasty treats.
The easy, mellow vibe of Zac Brown Band is unique and refreshing. You could easily compare “Toes” to something Kenny Chesney’s done, or “It’s Not OK” to a Johnny Cash song, but the overall feel, rhythm and sound of the Zac Brown Band belongs solely to them. I also enjoyed the fact that each song has its own personality and vibe, with slight variations that take you to a different place without coming out of nowhere. There is an overall good mix of silly and fun contrasted by thoughtful and melodic.
I like a band with a sense of humor, and ZBB has got a keen one. Whether it be the country bum rap “It’s Not OK” or the hilarious “Sic’ em on a Chicken,” you’ll likely chuckle at the unlikely lyrics spun by this playful group. But then, would you expect less from a band whose notoriety came from a song about deep fried fowl? As great as the fun and the sun is with ZBB, this band also does a mean little love song. The vocals on the album are solid and controlled, easily carrying the slower melodies like “Highway 20 Ride” and “Free.” There is nothing in the vocals that will blow you away, but they hold a quiet power that is perhaps more difficult to achieve.
Though it’s difficult to top “Chicken Fried,” a couple other songs on the album join in as favorites. The flowy “What Ever It Is” jumps out as a pretty little ditty, as does the catchy “A Different Kind of Fine.” Again, it’s difficult to compare ZBB to other artists, as they have their own thang going on, but if I had to take a stab at it, I’d recommend The Foundation to fans of George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Johnny Cash and/or Luke Bryan. (Yes, that list is all over the place, but you’ll get it when you hear it.) Overall ZBB has presented an interesting album that holds a lot of potential for those looking for a mellow sound or just a laugh.