Zac Brown Band is a popular country band headed by the powerhouse songwriter, record label head, producer, and philanthropist Zac Brown. The band’s combination of country, bluegrass, reggae, and Caribbean genres holds widespread appeal across the country and the world. They are known for a variety of hit songs including the smash “Chicken Fried.”
Born in Atlanta, Georgia as the 11th of 12 children, Zac Brown was exposed by his siblings to a wide range of music at a young age, from the likes of Cat Stevens and James Taylor to Bob Marley and Willie Nelson. Brown began to study classical guitar at 7 years old, switching to a bluegrass fingerpicking style by middle school. While in high school, he played various solo gigs and worked at a summer camp for disabled kids in the summers. Brown went to college for classical voice but switched majors many times before settling on psychology, paying his way through band gigs and solo performances. After 9/11, decided to leave school and focus full-time on his music career.
Brown toured for a few years with one of the members of his college band, Far from Einstyne. In 2002, he began putting together the Zac Brown Band, which played over 200 gigs in their first year after formation. Brown founded the label Home Grown in 2003 and put out Home Grown (2003), and Live from the Rock Bus Tour (2005), two surprisingly successful albums given their lack of big-name backing. Brown then opened a music club and restaurant in 2004, where he and his band performed weekly gigs. After selling the restaurant to a developer, Brown and his band were able to buy a tour bus and go on the road full-time, playing various clubs and jam band festivals.
The Zac Brown Bands members had at this point been solidified, with bassist John Hopkins, guitarist Coy Bowles, fiddler Jimmy De Martini, and drummer Chris Fryar. Their first studio album was The Foundation, produced in 2006 by Keith Stegall. Originally released by Home Grown, Atlantic Records picked up the album and released it nationally, yielding platinum-selling success with its first single “Chicken Fried.” In 2010, Brown and the band won the Grammy for Best New Artist, and released the live album Pass the Jar. Its follow-up, You Get What You Give, was another hit and led to a long, successful tour.
Uncaged (2012) was the band’s third studio album, featuring new percussionist Daniel de los Reyes as well as songs co-written by Jason Mraz, Nic Gowan, and Sonia Leigh. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and soon went platinum with the Top Ten hits “Goodbye in Her Eyes,” “Sweet Annie,” and “Jump Right In.” In 2015, ZBB’s next album, Jekyll + Hyde, also topped charts, and in 2017 they returned to their trademark mellow sound with Welcome Home. Brown and the band perform over 200 gigs annually and are regularly booked for private parties and corporate entertainment events.