Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown performing at Detroit Hoedown 2010
Background information
Origin Dahlonega, Georgia, U.S.
Genres Country
Years active 2000–present
Labels Bigger Picture
Southern Ground
Associated acts Blackberry Smoke, Keith Stegall, The Lost Trailers, Jimmy Buffett, Alan Jackson
Coy Bowles
Zac Brown
Clay Cook
Jimmy De Martini
Chris Fryar
John Driskell Hopkins

Zac Brown Band is an American country music, southern rock, and folk band based in Atlanta, Georgia. The lineup consists of Zac Brown (vocals, guitar, bass guitar, percussion), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, guitar, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums) and Clay Cook (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals). The band has toured throughout the United States, including a slot on the 2009 and 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival. They have also recorded four studio albums, and charted seven Number One singles on the Billboard country charts: "Chicken Fried", "Toes", "Highway 20 Ride", "Free", "As She's Walking Away", "Colder Weather", and "Knee Deep" in addition to the single "Whatever It Is," which peaked at number 2 on the same chart.


Early life

Zac Brown was born July 31, 1978 in Cumming, Georgia. He was raised by his mom and step-dad, a dentist on Lake Lanier. The 11th of 12 children, Brown attended Mashburn Elementary School in Cumming, Georgia, Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, and South Forsyth High School in Cumming. He later moved to Dahlonega, Georgia, where he graduated from Lumpkin County High School. He learned to play classical guitar at the age of 7. As a teenager, he played solo gigs in local venues, performing country and pop cover songs.


Brown attended the University of West Georgia, where he was a member of the Zeta Kappa chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. He was also a camp counselor at Camp Mikell in Tocoa, Ga. & Camp Glisson, a United Methodist summer camp located in Dahlonega, GA.[1] While in college, he started a band and played dates in local restaurants with the band, and solo as well, to earn money to pay for school. During this time, the band recorded an album to sell at their gigs, but disbanded during recording sessions. On September 11, 2001, after the terrorist attacks occurred, Brown decided that life was too short doing something that he did not enjoy, so he withdrew from school that day and decided to pursue music full-time.[2]

The Zac Brown Band Forms

In 2002, the Zac Brown Band was formed, and they traveled with a heavy tour schedule of approximately 200 dates a year. The following year, Brown started his own label, called Home Grown (today, it is called Southern Ground for legal reasons).

In 2004, Brown opened a music club and restaurant with his father in the Lake Oconee area of Georgia called "Zac's Place" where the fare was southern-style cooking. The Zac Brown Band was happy when they played in the club on weekends[citation needed], and continued playing gigs on the road as well. A developer bought the restaurant, and the Zac Brown Band bought a tour bus, and hit the road full-time, playing rock and country clubs as well as folk and jam band festivals.

The Zac Brown Band released its first album, Far from Einstyne, in 2004, followed by Home Grown a year later. A live album titled Live from the Rock Bus Tour followed in 2007 on the Home Grown label.

In 2006, the band recorded The Foundation with producer Keith Stegall. The album was picked up by Live Nation for their new record label. When the label folded, Atlantic picked it up and released the album nationally.

Commercial Success

The Zac Brown Band then signed to Live Nation Records in 2008. Their first single, "Chicken Fried", was originally recorded in 2003 and included on the Home Grown album, but later re-recorded and released to country radio in 2008. This song was also recorded by The Lost Trailers, whose 2006 recording was released as a single but withdrawn after Brown decided that he wanted to release it himself.[3] Brown also co-wrote "Simple Life", a song recorded by The Lost Trailers on their 2006 self-titled album.

In October 2008, Atlantic Records took over distribution of "Chicken Fried." The band's album The Foundation was released under Atlantic Records' newly re-established country division in association with the Home Grown/Big Picture label on November 18, 2008. The group had been previously signed with Live Nation Artists Records.[4] "Chicken Fried" reached #1 on the country charts in November 2008, making them the first country band to reach #1 with a debut single since Heartland did so in 2006 with "I Loved Her First."[5] In January 2009, Clay Cook joined as a multi-instrumentalist, and the band released its second single, "Whatever It Is," which went to number two. In July 2009, a third single, "Toes," became the band's second Number One. The album's fourth single, and third #1, was "Highway 20 Ride". In the summer of 2010, they performed at Citi Field and other locations, such as Hershey, PA, as the opening act for the Dave Matthews Band. "Free" is the album's fifth single and on the week of August 21, 2010, it hit Number One. They recently also had the song "Knee Deep" reach number 1 earlier this summer.

In 2011, Zac Brown Band and Blackberry Smoke did a tour of sold out concerts at venues and amphitheaters including Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA.[6]


Zac Brown Band received four nominations for the 2009 CMA Awards: New Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Single of the Year, and Music Video of the Year for their #1 single, "Chicken Fried". that same year, they received three Grammy nominations for Best Country Album, Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals and Best New Artist. On January 31, 2010, the band won the Grammy award for Best New Artist.

The group was also nominated in 2009 for three ACM awards, "Album of the Year", "Top Vocal Group", and was one of eight contenders for "Entertainer of the Year"[citation needed].

The Zac Brown Band lead the nominees for the 46th annual Academy of Country Music Awards 2011, with a total of nine nominations including: Top Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year, Single Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year[7]

Collaborations and Appearances

The band is known to cover songs by their major musical influences in concert, with notable songs including Come Pick Me Up by Ryan Adams, The Devil Went Down To Georgia by Charlie Daniels, I Shall Be Released by Bob Dylan, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band, Blackbird by The Beatles, Into The Mystic by Van Morrison, One Love by Bob Marley, Killing in the Name by Rage Against the Machine and Can't You See by The Marshall Tucker Band. On their 2010 Live benefit album Pass the Jar, these songs were included in their setlist.

Along with recent commercial success, the band has made appearances at The Hangout Music Festival, Hullabalou Music Festival and the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2006, 2009, and 2010 along with an opening slot for the Dave Matthews Band during their 2010 Summer Tour. Also, after several years as perennial favorites on the annual The Rock Boat theme-cruise, the Zac Brown Band has been elevated to hosting their own theme-cruise, Sailing Southern Ground, in September 2010.

Zac Brown Band was also a headliner at the 2010 Detroit Hoedown.

Jimmy Buffett, Duane Cahill, Aaron Carman and guitar virtuoso Tony Rice join Alan Jackson as special guests on the new Zac Brown Band album, "You Get What You Give," which was released on September 21, 2010.[8]

Zac Brown Band appeared at the Country Music Association Awards on Nov 10, 2010, performing As She's Walking Away.[9]

Zac Brown Band appeared as special guests for Kings of Leon at London’s Hyde Park on June 22, 23 and at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium on June 26.

Zac Brown Band appeared at Ft. Stewart, Georgia and played a free concert for soldiers and family members on July 4, 2011 to a crowd of over 24,000 people.


Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Result
2009 Academy of Country Music Top New Artist Nominated
Top New Vocal Duo or Group Won
CMT Music Awards USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year — "Chicken Fried" Won
Country Music Association Awards New Artist of the Year Nominated
Vocal Group of the Year Nominated
Single of the Year — "Chicken Fried" Nominated
Song of the Year — "Chicken Fried" Nominated
2010 Grammy Awards Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals — "Chicken Fried" Nominated
Best Country Album — The Foundation Nominated
Best New Artist Won
Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Nominated
Top Vocal Group of the Year Nominated
Album of the Year — The Foundation Nominated
Single Record of the Year — "Toes" Nominated
CMT Music Awards Video of the Year – "Toes" Nominated
Group Video of the Year – "Toes" Nominated
Group Video of the Year – "Highway 20 Ride" Nominated
Country Music Association Awards Entertainer of the Year Nominated
New Artist of the Year Won
2011 Grammy Awards Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals — "Free" Nominated
Best Country Album — You Get What You Give Nominated
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals — As She's Walking Away with Alan Jackson Won
Best Country Song — Free Nominated
Academy of Country Music Vocal Group of the Year Nominated
Single of the Year — "As She's Walking Away (feat. Alan Jackson)" Nominated
Song of the Year — "As She's Walking Away (feat. Alan Jackson)" Nominated
Album of the Year — You Get What You Give Nominated
Top Vocal Event of the Year — "As She's Walking Away (with Alan Jackson)" Won
CMT Music Awards Video of the Year - "Colder Weather" Nominated
Group Video of the Year - "Colder Weather" Nominated
Performance of the Year - "Margaritaville" (Performed by Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffet) Won
Country Music Association Awards Vocal Group of the Year Pending
Single of the Year - "Colder Weather" Pending
Song of the Year - "Colder Weather" Pending
Album of the Year - You Get What You Give Pending
Musical Event of the Year - "As She's Walking Away (feat Alan Jackson)" Pending
American Music Awards Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group Pending
American Country Awards Artist of the Year Pending
Duo/Group Artist of the Year Pending
Album of the Year - You Get What You Give Pending
Single of the Year - As She's Walking Away (feat. Alan Jackson) Pending
Single By a Duo/Group - Colder Weather Pending
Single By a Vocal Collaboration - As She's Walking Away (feat. Alan Jackson) Pending
Single By a Vocal Collaboration - Knee Deep (feat. Jimmy Buffett) Pending
Music Video by a Duo/Group/Collaboration - As She's Walking Away (feat. Alan Jackson) Pending


External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Grammy Award for Best New Artist
Succeeded by
Esperanza Spalding

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