Zac Brown Band : Uncaged
Chart-topping Georgian star Zac Brown owes the wizardry of his band’s latest smash to a chance meeting in a Los Angeles tattoo parlour. That’s where Brown had a cosmic collision with video director Mike Judge of King Of The Hill and Beavis And Butthead fame. Judge created the character Robo Redneck (aka The Million-Dollar Honky) in an animated video to promote the septet’s latest hit The Wind from its sixth album Uncaged.
Brown’s band masters a fiery fusion of country, reggae, bluegrass, pop and Calypso on a disc that topped the Billboard Top 200 all-genre chart on its debut and is still #2.
They recorded it at diverse studios in Atlanta, Asheville, Key West and Nashville – something that is reflected in the furnace of the album that opens with Caribbean-flavoured Jump Right In. Co-written with Jason Mraz, it has a reggae-inspired groove revisited four tracks later with Island Song – the album’s only song not written by band members.
Texan Nic Cowan’s Calypso capsule owes as much to Jimmy Buffett as Bob Marley, as the band toss idyllic rural and island themes into a bucolic blender and serve them au naturel. But this is not all rum and vittles. The ravaged road warriors in Lance’s Songs and Sweet Annie are credible characters fanning the fame flame fallout.
In Sweet Annie the wounded road dog pleads for reconciliation with the belle who no longer rings for him at her home. It complements another ruptured romance requiem Goodbye In Her Eyes.
New Orleans musician Trombone Shorty and his horn section guest on R&B tinged, hook-heavy Overnight, while the rollicking Natural Disaster enjoys wry word play about a preacher’s daughter who “never did what daddy taught her.”
Amos Lee guests on Day That I Die: a fiercely proud ode to musicians’ passion for their lifestyle that precedes the fitting finale Last But Not Least.
BY DAVID DAWSON
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