It looks like the Zac Brown Band is adding to their repertoire of genres. Country is still in the mix, it’s just that it’s not the only sound you’ll hear.
I fell in love with the band’s music the literal minute I first heard “Chicken Fried” in 2008, and part of me wishes they could make song after song after song that country. But I get it.
And I respect Brown for his decision to say that he’s not just a country artist. Because if his creativity is leading him down a new path, why would we want him to not give that a try?
In a new interview with CBS News, Brown talked about his band’s latest album, The Owl, and how frustrating it was to be forced to pick a category.
“When I put out a record, I have to pick a category to put it in. You have to. You release a record on iTunes, you have to pick a category. One category. You can’t say country, rock, reggae, soul and whatever,” Brown explained. “No, you get one bucket to coin yourself in.”
So he did label the album country, which may be why listeners are surprised to hear that the music isn’t 100 percent country.
“I am not just a country artist. I’m not,” he said. “I have to create what moves me and what connects with my fans. And I don’t really care about their buckets. But I don’t like being coined as a ’country artist.’ I like just being an ’artist.'”
Brown does understand the country purists, he said, and hopes that they’ll listen to the songs of his – both new and old — that they do like.
While he may no longer be making exclusively country music, I am thoroughly grateful to Brown for all the country music he has shared with us in the past decade. I remember talking with Brown in 2011, and he told me how his older brother played him some Garth Brooks on the way to the beach one day, and he’d had an epiphany about how important lyrics can (and should) be in music.
Here is a playlist for those country purists:
“Goodbye in Her Eyes”
“Highway 20 Ride”
“I Play the Road”
“Me and the Boys in the Band”
“As She’s Walking Away”
“Last But Not Least”
“Day That I Die”
“Leaving Love Behind”