Zac Brown Band New Year’s Eve Concert
Blackberry Smoke and Levi Lowrey on New Year’s Eve to Joe Louis Arena!
Zac Brown Band’s album ‘UNCAGED’ is available in stores and online now! Zac Brown Band’s latest single “Goodbye in Her Eyes” is a track that’s almost as old as their first hit single, “Chicken Fried.” Clay declares that it’s the song’s “time to be born is with this band, its been kicking around for 10+ years.” Hear this and more great hits from ZBB as you ring in the New Year!
Zac Brown was the second of twelve children from rural Dahlonega, Georgia. He developed an interest in country music at an early age and learned to play the guitar at seven years old. Zac moved to West Georgia to go to college and he started playing in local bars to make extra cash. Zac Brown formed the band in 2002 and immediately hit the road; Zac Brown Band's concert schedule included nearly 200 dates a year after being formed in 2002. The following year, Zac founded his own label "Southern Ground", and started releasing his music, his way.
In 2004, the band self-released, "Far From Einstyne", and in 2005 they issued the album "Home Grown". The band continued to tour extensively and released a live album, "Live From the Rock Bus Tour", in 2007. Zac even opened up a music club and restaurant during this time. It served as a venue for the bad to showcase their music and get some southern home cooking.
In 2008, the band signed with Atlantic Records who released their major label debut, "The Foundation". The album's first single, "Chicken Fried", was a smash success reaching #1 on the country singles charts, a rare feat for a debut single. The album went on to release four more singles, three of which also hit #1 on the singles charts. Of the album's massive success, Brown asserts that it "solidifies an achievement that has been more than a decade in the making." In 2009 Zac Brown Band concert dates were booked at Stagecoach Music Festival, California's largest country music festival, and Bonnaroo Music Festival.
2009 proved to be the year of Zac Brown's critical success. In one year, they went from relative obscurity to being named the Academy of Country Music's Top New Vocal Group and they won the highly coveted Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Off the heels of their success, Zac Brown Band tour dates were booked as the headliners on the "Breaking Ground Tour". Of their first headlining tour, Brown states that "For us to come into our own, we had to make it happen as a headliner."
After the successful tour, the band headed back to the studio to record the follow-up. Despite fears of the dreaded sophomore album curse, the band released "You Get What You Give", in September 2010 and the album immediately hit #1 on the Billboard 200. The lead-off single," As She's Walking Away", gave them their fifth #1 single and garnered them another Grammy for "Best Country Collaboration with Vocals" at the 2011 ceremony. Zac Brown Band concert dates were booked as the headlining act at the 2010 Detroit Hoedown festival and they performed "As She's Walking Away", at the Country Music Association Awards in November, 2010.
Zac Brown's meteoric rise has been nothing short of remarkable. Their latest single, "Colder Weather", recently gave them their sixth #1 single, a position they hope to occupy with the follow-up, "Knee Deep". Make sure you don't miss out on the ACM's Top Vocal Event of the Year when Zac Brown Band concert dates are scheduled in your area. Use Eventful as your source for Zac Brown Band tour dates and venue information.
Blackberry Smoke: We don't pull any punches about calling this Southern rock because that's what it is," says Blackberry Smoke frontman Charlie Starr. "It's what we think new Southern rock should sound like." Starr, guitarist Paul Jackson, bassist Richard Turner and drummer Brit Turner are indeed sons of the South, but their considerable chops recall The Swanee River Boys and The Stanley Brothers as well as Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers.
"We love all kinds of music - our CD collection in the van is extremely diverse," Charlie continues. "You can hear a bluegrass influence on our harmonies. We all grew up listening to that kind of music, and I started singing in church, so I think a little gospel flavor filters through, too. We like to mix it up and take some chances."
Still, discerning ears will detect a strain of Bon Scott in Charlie's upper register. "Our music is probably harder driving than what you'd call classic Southern rock," he concedes, "especially in the guitar and drum sounds." In fact, this ain't no gospel, this ain't no bluegrass, this ain't no fooling around: Blackberry Smoke is balls-out rock and roll.
The response of fans to the live performances on Bad Luck Ain't No Crime, the band's debut disc, is thrilling confirmation of that. Studio tracks "Testify" and "Sanctified Woman" may be attracting the most attention at rock radio, but these rough-and-ready versions of originals "Scare The Devil" and "Muscadine" and the standard "Freeborn Man" may better capture the essence of Blackberry Smoke.
"We recorded those during the motorcycle rally in Sturgis [South Dakota], at The Full Throttle Saloon," Charlie informs. "We took an RV, parked it behind the stage and just lived there for a week. We opened for everyone who came through. It's outdoors and the weather was beautiful. There's no charge to get in and lots of booze flowing. What that audience sounded like - we couldn't have asked for better live recordings. Technically, there are some warts, but the energy was so high that we didn't care. We aren't brain surgeons - it ain't pretty sometimes, but it sure does feel good."
Even when Charlie's singing about hard times, there is joy in the music. You can't help thinking that he, Paul, Richard and Brit were born to play together.
The road to Blackberry Smoke winds through Lanett, Alabama, where Charlie was raised, LaGrange, Georgia, where he met Paul, and Atlanta, longtime stomping grounds to brothers Richard and Brit. Growing up in Lanett, a textile mill town ringed by fields of corn, peas and butterbeans, Charlie began his training as a singer before he could talk. His mother's uncle is Bluegrass Hall Of Famer Buford Abner, lead singer for the aforementioned Swanee River Boys; great uncle Merle Abner sang bass.
"My dad has played guitar and sung bluegrass my whole life," Charlie adds. "I spent a lot of years going to bluegrass festivals. Every weekend we'd drive to Virginia or Kentucky. It was a fun thing to do. When I got to be a teenager, I said, ?I don't want to play this kind of music; I want to play "Smoke On The Water."' But after a while, I think you always come back to whatever sparked your interest in music in the first place."
He vividly remembers his mother singing along to the radio, with The Rolling Stones, The Faces, The Beatles and Bob Dylan among her favorites. He notes that his own idols range more toward Hank Williams - of whom he says, "I don't think a better songwriter has ever walked the earth" - and Steve Earle, but the Bad Luck Ain't No Crime track "Normaltown" is indisputably reminiscent of the Beatles' psychedelic awakening.
Charlie recollects: "When I was growing up, we'd all sit around the piano singing, and I'd grab my dad's guitar every time someone put it down. About the time I turned six, I guess he figured he'd better get me one before I broke his."
The boy learned how to play on his own after a few lessons from Dad. He graduated to the electric guitar in his teen years. By then Charlie was getting into the Allmans, Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot and 38 Special, whose material he calls "a little more pop, riding-around-in-your-Camaro stuff."
He naturally gravitated toward other rock musicians. "Paul and I have been buddies for a long time," he says. "He's always been a great guitar player. We'd go down to Atlanta to see bands. There's a couple of late-night watering holes where musicians would convene after concerts, and that's where we got to know Brit and Richard. We kept saying we should all jam and when we finally did, there it was; the band just kind of fell together."
Blackberry Smoke's creative approach remains a collaborative one. "Sometimes I'll come in with a basic idea, just play some chords and a melody on an acoustic and a song will grow from that," Charlie explains. "But most of the time I'll write with Paul - we live within 15 minutes of each other - or we'll be in rehearsal and just start jamming on something and magic will happen."
The band members have a similarly easygoing, give-and-take personal rapport. Charlie says he knows it's a clich', but he nonetheless attests: "We're like a little family, like four brothers. We all just get along really well. We've all been in cover bands, and in every cover band there's somebody ya hate. There's nobody in this band like that ? unless I'm the guy and they haven't told me! We could never stay on the road for 40 days if we weren't laughing and having a good time. All our dads were in the service and they taught us respect for other people. Hell, Brit and Richard's dad is a retired Air Force colonel; they really walked the line."
During their travels, the Blackberry Smoke boys have headlined all over the U.S. and opened for a slew of rock acts. The band got their name from another likeminded artist, former Black Crowes singer-songwriter Chris Robinson.