Fortunately, my students often urge me to check out various people and often when I do I’m pleasantly surprised. Case in point: The Zac Brown Band.
I’m very conflicted about the current state of so-called country music. Ultra slick artists turn me off but it’s important to remember that a certain amount of glitz and showmanship has been part of country music performances for the last 40 years or more, much more so than in rock (until recently anyway). I also get very cynical about how some country artists gain exposure – there is no doubt that image and how the record companies feel the average record buyer will relate to the artist on a personal level play huge parts in how much a company is willing to get behind that artist.
Which brings me back to Zac Brown. He’s not sexy/cute like Keith Urban or others – I’m sure his company looked at him and saw an image of the slightly overweight, scraggly bearded pick-up truck driving demographic. And there wasn’t anyone out there with that look, which was something of an oversight on the part of the Nashville power brokers. Zac comes across with the good ol’ boy persona but there is something else there too. He gives out a certain self-deprecating humor that seems very real.
So how about his music? Well, as with Kenny Chesney on a MUCH larger scale, Zac owes a great debt to another performer: Jimmy Buffet. In fact, they did a very highly rated TV special together and they were a perfect match both musically and in general image: a laid back, fun-loving couple of guys who just want to make some music, have a beer or three and then head down to the islands to kick back for while. Who can argue with that?!
The bottom line is I’m going to learn a few Zac Brown tunes and use them with my students. There is no deep inner meaning in his lyrics and the chord structure is quite basic, but so what? Sometimes ya gotta just play and have fun and not be concerned with such things.
Peace & good music,