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Concert Recap: Zac Brown Band

If you’ve been thinking about seeing Zac Brown Band live…stop thinking about it and go already. On the stereo the group sounds great and they sound even better live. This past weekend I caught their show at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ.

Check out my video recap.

Also, here are some pictures…


BEST OF 2011: Nominated Band Of The Year

There have been bands that rise to the top with a single song and there are bands that are around for a long time without any recognition…year after year.  I’ve seen many artists pay their dues, putting out great album after great album until one song flings them into super stardom.  Case in point…Miranda Lambert.  I’ve been a fan for years, and one song (“The House That Built Me”) not only garnered song recognition but she is practically a house-hold name.  I think Dierks Bentley is one of these artists still scratching at the door and the band that is just inches away from taking over country music is Zac Brown Band.

ZBB produced four records, the two most notable include The Foundation and You Get What You Give.   The two albums racked up eight number one singles which were recognized by numerous nominations, but no significant wins.  Fans adored the hit single “Chicken Fried” a few years ago and the band was nominated for and won the Best New Artist statues at the CMA and the ACM Awards.  Considering the slew of great songs that reached number one, including “Chicken Fried,” “Toes,” “Highway 20 Ride,” “Free,” “As She’s Walking Away,” “Colder Weather,” “Knee Deep,” and “Keep Me In Mind” the band hasn’t won for the tremendous songwriting or overall album recognition. 

The nominations were there this year, but much like groups such as Little Big Town or Montgomery Gentry, they fall to the side by trio Lady Antebellum or a great duo like Sugarland or solo artists like Miranda Lambert and Taylor Swift…and newcomers The Band Perry.  It really is a shame because people want real country and the songwriting that comes out of ZBB is spot on…the instrumentalists that make up the band are real professionals.  I haven’t seen the band live yet but from what I’ve seen on award shows and concert DVD’s, they put on a show that is quite the experience.  I think as long as they keep chugging along, doing what they’re doing, 2012 can be a big year for ZBB.  Hopefully we’ll get a new album later next year.  And there’s rumors of a joint tour with Jimmy Buffett…which could be awesome.

So…the tune “Whatever It Is” is the only single that didn’t reach number one…it reached number two…

A favorite performance from the CMA Awards in 2009…

Zac Brown Band Introduces New Festival

The Zac Brown Band announced today that they will be hosting a three day food and music festival October 21-23 at Riley Park in Charleston, SC that will feature a new experience for a couple hundred VIPs.

“This is a big statement for us,” Zac Brown said. “This is a sign of the future, of how we’re going to be approaching our fans and our shows and our Southern Ground festivals.”

Zac said the stage will extend to the right and to the left of general admission, and stage boxes will be set up on each side.  Fans in these areas will be served food prepared by chefs throughout the day. Brown’s also taking over all the concessions in the park.  “This is real wine and real food,” Zac said. “It’s not just what’s cheap. It’s not a $12 bag of nachos with some Cheez Whiz on them.”

Jack Daniel’s will also be involved under a new partnership with the band.  It’s the first formal sponsorship deal with a music act in more than a decade for the whiskey maker.  “What we liked about the Zac Brown Band in particular was they are someone who could play the Ryman one night and Bonnaroo or Coachella the next night,” said Jeff Arnett, Jack Daniel’s master distiller.

A lineup and more details about the festival will be released at a later date.

Music Video Pick-of-the-Week: ZBB

Zac Brown Band’s latest music video for “Colder Weather,” from the album You Get What You Give, is one of my favorite new song right now.  Check it out below…plus CLICK HERE to read about the songwriter’s personal story that turned into a hit song.

Tid-Bit Tuesday

*Taylor Swift was a big winner at this year’s Teen Choice Awards.  The show aired last night and Taylor walked away with four surfboard trophies for Favorite Female Country Artist, Favorite Country Song for “Fifteen” and Favorite Country Album for Fearless and she was also honored for her big-screen acting debut in Valentine’s Day in the Favorite Female Breakout star category.  Keith Urban also won for Favorite Male Country artist, while Lady Antebellum took home Favorite Country Group.

*In other Taylor Swift news…there are rumors floating around that she is up to play a role in the Valentine’s Day sequel New Year’s Eve.  The movie isn’t slated to be released until late 2011, so we’ll just have to wait and see.  Also, Taylor will be performing along with the Dave Matthews Band at the NFL’s annual kickoff concert in New Orleans on September 9 before the Saints/Vikings game.  The concert will air on NBC and NFL Network as part of the pregame show.

*Lady Antebellum has released an alternate version of their music video for “I Run to You” set on a rooftop in downtown Nashville.  The original video was released back in 2008 as the third single off of their debut album.  Now, the trio is releasing the song to mainstream radio as a follow up to their huge crossover hit “Need You Now.”  Check out the new video by clicking HERE.

*Luke Bryan is gearing up for his second Farm Tour in his home state of Georgia.  Luke’s Farm Tour kicks off September 28 at the Coffee Weed Plantation in Valdosta, followed by the Hurricane Branch Plantation in Statesboro on September 29, the VFW Fairgrounds in Carrollton on September 30, and the Luther Williams Field in Macon on October 1.  Luke’s father is a farmer and knows how important they are.  Proceeds from the concerts will go to charities in the farming communities.  His upbringing also inspired his hit song “Rain Is A Good Thing.”  Check out his performance of that song on last night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live.

*American Idol contestant Casey James signed a major record deal with Sony Music Nashville.  Sony has signed several Idol acts to different imprints in the past including Carrie Underwood (Arista Records), Kellie Pickler (BNA Records) and Danny Gokey (RCA Nashville).  Casey told Yahoo that, “Country music is a big wide open space for you to do what you want to do if you’re within a certain realm.  They are going to let me play the guitar, they’re going to let me be edgy and rocky and a little bit bluesy, a little bit old school, a little bit new school.”  Sony hasn’t released which imprint Casey will fall under.

*Zac Brown and his band are celebrating another number one song with “Free.”  The song has climbed to the top of both the Mediabase/Country Aircheck and Billboard country charts.  “Free” was the fifth single from the band’s double-platinum-selling 2008 album The Foundation.  Fans can now pre-order the Zac Brown Band’s upcoming album, You Get What You Give and download the first single, “She’s Walking Away,” featuring Alan Jackson, at their official website. The new collection, due in stores September 21, also features a duet with Jimmy Buffett on “Knee Deep.”  Check out the music video for “Free” below.

*Josh Kelley’s new country song “Georgia Clay” will hit radio this week.  Josh co-wrote the song with his brother, and Lady Antebellum member, Charles Kelley and producer Clint Lagerberg.  The song is Josh’s first foray into the country music market and has been described as a “soaring-yet-earthy, summer romance tune that places him squarely in the country mainstream.”  The track is available on iTunes, by clicking HERE.  You can catch Josh out on the road as an opening act for Miranda Lambert this fall on the CMT on Tour with Miranda Lambert-Revolution 2010, which kicks off in New York City on September 29.

Tid-Bit Tuesday

* The Zac Brown Band and Ram Truck Brand have teamed together to launch Letters for Lyrics.  The idea of this new initiative is to encourage people to write one million letters to soldiers overseas and each letter writer will receive a special compilation album titled Breaking Southern Ground.  The album will feature three new songs from ZBB along with songs from label mates Sonia Leigh, Nic Cowan, and Levi Lowrey.  ZBB is very passionate about supporting the troops whether performing on USO Tours or this latest venture.

* Tim McGraw landed at number 5 on a recent Harris poll in which Americans were asked to name their favorite recording acts of all time.  Tim was the highest country singer, George Strait landed at number 7, Rascal Flatts at number 8 and Alan Jackson came in at number 9.  All four country singers are at the top of their game and are out on the road this summer.  By the way, the number one spot was held by Celine Dion.

* CMT Award nominations were announced today and leading the pack are Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean…all with three nominations.  Kid Rock is hosting the fan-voted show which airs June 9, find out all the nominees at and vote today!!

* Pop group, Maroon 5, collaborated with one of the most successful country groups, Lady Antebellum.  The two musical groups got together earlier this year record the song “Out of Goodbyes” which will be included on Maroon 5’s new album Hands All Over set to be released September 21.

* Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow were special guests on Sunday’s episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.   They each performed for the family who received a new home.  It just would have been nice to see the whole performances rather than just bits and pieces…oh well.  Check it out below!

* Chris Young scored is second number one hit in a row.  “The Man I Want To Be” followed in the foot tracks of the hit song “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song).”  In a mere seven months, he has two number one hits.  Find him on tour this summer with Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson and Rascal Flatts.

* Today is my brother’s birthday!!! Happy Birthday Michael!!!  It was a good day when he met Carrie!!!

Tid-Bit Tuesday

*Kid Rock is set to host this year’s CMT Awards, scheduled for June 9 on CMT.  Should be interesting, kind of excited to see  what craziness will happen.

*Taylor Swift landed at #9 on Time Magazine’s Most Influential People list.  Also on the list: Prince, Elton John, Simon Cowell and Sandra Bullock.  Coming in at #1 was Lady Gaga.  It was also announced that Taylor is the new face of CoverGirl.  As if she couldn’t have yet another thing to do, her ads won’t be out until January.

*Julianne Hough is returning to Dancing With The Stars for the 11th season this fall.  On her last season she was paired with then-boyfriend Chuck Wicks and then debuted her self-titled album after leaving the show.  Her second album will coincide with this fall’s season, it is due out by the end of the year and her first movie Burlesque hits movie theaters in November.  The movie also stars Christina Aguilera and Cher.

*Sammy Kershaw is running for Lt. Governor in Louisiana again.  He failed to secure a bid in 2007.  He officially announced his candidacy on Monday.

*Two members from The Dixie Chicks, sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison, released their first album today as the group Court Yard Hounds.  The album showcases their songwriting skills and combines folk, rock and country.  Check it out!

*Get a piece of Zac Brown and his band.  Today the concert DVD hits the shelves.  Pass The Jar: Zac Brown Band and Friends was taped at their show at Atlanta’s Fox Theater back in October.  Check out the trailer below!

*Rascal Flatts dropped by the Kentucky Derby this weekend.  The trio performed the National Anthem, and looked mighty fine doing it.

Country music supports the troops

Many country artists are paying it forward by traveling thousands of miles to the Middle East to boost military morale.  It seems to be talked about pretty regularly of how many artists are making this trip.  It doesn’t take much to let the men and women over there know that while they are fighting for our country, we truly appreciate it.

Kellie Pickler embarked on her third USO Tour in January with the help of Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser.  They were there for a week and put on a series of shows to multiple combat posts.  On stage together, they would rotate between songs for over two hours.  Jamey, who is a former U.S. Marine who served for 8 years, is known for his award-winning songwriting and didn’t think twice about spending time signing autographs. 

Also, Zac Brown Band opted to skip this year’s ACM Awards and instead head oversees, half way around the world, to perform for soldiers.  However, those who did catch the ACM’s, did see a performance via footage of them entertaining the troops.  It was the first USO tour for the band and the second for Zac himself.  And although the band was nominated for the big award at the ACM’s, Entertainer of the Year, it didn’t stop them from wanting to show support of the military.  The band’s fifth single off of Foundation, “Free”, was shot during their time spent in the Persian Gulf.

Most recently, Darryl Worley announced that he will be headed oversees to kick off the Stars for Stripes military tour this week, heading out April 29 and coming home May 2.  Darryl has been entertaining troops since 2002 and his hit song “Have You Forgotten” still resonates with troops and Americans alike.  His trips and support of the troops motivated Darryl to start the Darryl Worley Foundation which provides funds to several charitable organizations.