OFFSTAGE: Zac Brown Goes Straight-Up R&B

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Usually, it’s an artist from another genre going country or making a “country mix” of an otherwise not-very-country song. (As in, “Let’s add four seconds of banjo and then send it to country radio.”) But this time, it’s a country band that’s gone a little R&B. Or, as Zac Brown put it, “I’m about to get tender on ya’.” The track he’s referring to is “Overnight,” and it’s one he describes as straight-up R&B, baby. “It’s definitely us. It sounds like us. But the arrangement and everything is straight-up R&B,” he said. The sound of it — and lyrics like, “We gonna get this bed rockin'” — make the tune feel very Marvin Gaye, circa 1973. Brown also said of the band’s new album, Uncaged, “We spent hours and hours writing the songs and hours and hours arranging them and recording them and everything,” he told CMT Radio. “We work harder than a lot of other bands, I think.” And while I do love the sexy “Overnight” tune, I have some other favorites: “Goodbye in Her Eyes,” “Day That I Die,” and “Lance’s Song” (about Atlanta-based drummer Lance Tilton, who died in a car accident in 2010).