|Zac Brown Band|
Zac Brown Band at Walmart Soundcheck L-R: Coy Bowles, Clay Cook, Daniel Reyes, Zac Brown (Front), Jimmy Martini, John Hopkins, Chris Fryar
|Origin||Dahlonega, Georgia, U.S.|
|Years active||2002 - present|
Southern Ground Artists
|Associated acts||Blackberry Smoke, Keith Stegall, The Lost Trailers, Jimmy Buffett, Alan Jackson|
Daniel de los Reyes
Jimmy De Martini
John Driskell Hopkins
Zac Brown Band is an American country/folk band based in Atlanta, Georgia. The lineup consists of Zac Brown (lead vocals, guitar), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums), Clay Cook (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals), and Daniel de los Reyes (percussion). The band has toured throughout the United States, including a slot on the 2009 and 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival. They have also recorded five studio albums, and charted nine Number One singles on the Billboard country charts: "Chicken Fried", "Toes", "Highway 20 Ride", "Free", "As She's Walking Away", "Colder Weather", "Knee Deep", "Keep Me In Mind", and "Goodbye in Her Eyes" in addition to the singles "Whatever It Is" and "No Hurry", which peaked at number 2 on the same chart.
Zac Brown was born July 31, 1978 in Cumming, Georgia. He was raised by his mom and step-dad, a dentist, on Lake Lanier. The 11th of 12 children, Brown attended Mashburn Elementary School in Cumming, Georgia, Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, and South Forsyth High School in Cumming. He later moved to Dahlonega, Georgia, where he graduated from Lumpkin County High School. He learned to play classical guitar at the age of 7. As a teenager, he played solo gigs in local venues, performing country and pop cover songs. Brown attended the University of West Georgia, where he was a member of the Zeta Kappa chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity. He was also a camp counselor at Camp Mikell in Toccoa, Ga. & Camp Glisson, a United Methodist summer camp and retreat center located in Dahlonega, GA.
In 2002, the Zac Brown Band was formed and they began traveling with a heavy tour schedule of approximately 200 dates a year. The initial Zac Brown Band lineup consisted of Brown, on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, backed by a drummer and a bass guitarist. In 2003, Brown started his own label, called Home Grown (today, it is called Southern Ground for legal reasons).
In 2004, Brown opened a music club and restaurant with his father in the Lake Oconee area of Georgia, called "Zac's Place" where the fare was southern-style cooking. A developer bought the restaurant and, in turn, the Zac Brown Band bought a tour bus and began touring full-time, playing rock and country clubs as well as folk and jam band festivals. 2004 also saw the release of the Zac Brown Band's first independent album, Far from Einstyne.
It was also in 2004 when Brown added violinist/fiddler and tenor vocalist Jimmy De Martini to the Zac Brown Band lineup. According to an interview with De Martini, he explained that Wyatt Durette, Brown's frequent songwriting collaborator, was working as a bartender at Sidelines Sports Bar in Kennesaw, Georgia at the time, where the Zac Brown Band frequently performed. Durette suggested De Martini to Brown, who was wanting a "lead instrument" in his band, as well as a harmony singer. After doing several performances with the band at the club, Brown asked De Martini to become a permanent member, to which De Martini gladly obliged.
In 2005, the Zac Brown Band released its second independent album, Home Grown. That same year, John Driskell Hopkins joined the band as its bass guitarist and baritone vocalist. Hopkins, who was well known in the Atlanta area as the leader of the band Brighter Shade, first met Brown in 1998 at an open mic event hosted by Hopkins and they remained friends since then. Additionally, Hopkins also co-produced the Home Grown album.
In 2006, the Zac Brown Band recorded The Foundation with producer Keith Stegall. It was also in 2006 when Coy Bowles joined the band alternating on guitar and keyboards. Bowles and Brown first met in the late 1990s when they were both students at the University of West Georgia, where Bowles was studying biology. Bowles also vividly remembers seeing Brown perform for the first time. He explains, "I walked into a restaurant and Zac was singing and playing guitar. I heard a couple tunes and turned to my buddy and said, 'That dude might have the richest and loudest voice I ever heard!' I don’t even think Zac had a microphone and you could hear him all across the bar.”
Bowles then transferred to Atlanta's Georgia State University to study music. He subsequently became involved in Atlanta's various music scenes, and eventually formed Coy Bowles and the Fellowship in 2004. Two years later, Bowles decided to reconnect with Brown. Through mutual friends, he learned that the Zac Brown Band was scheduled to perform in Atlanta one evening. Bowles and Brown spent the afternoon prior to the performance reacquainting with each other, which ended with Brown inviting Bowles to sit in with his band at that night's performance, which Bowles gladly accepted. To return the favor, Bowles invited the band to attend his own gig with the Fellowship a couple of months later, which in turn resulted in Brown and his band sitting in at that gig.
This turn of events continued for eight months until Bowles concluded that it was too overwhelming to balance his time with Brown's band and his own band and other activities, thus making a difficult decision to put the Fellowship on an indefinite hiatus and become a permanent member of the Zac Brown Band, as that was what he enjoyed the most.
In 2008, the Zac Brown Band signed to Live Nation Artists Records (in association with Brown's own Home Grown label), but not before Chris Fryar became yet another addition to the band. An Alabama native, Fryar attended North Texas State University and the Mississippi University for Women and made a name for himself in the Birmingham music scene. According to Fryar, a mutual friend recommended him to Brown, who was in need of a new drummer for the band. Fryar, who in turn had just finished a stint with a previous band, subsequently auditioned and shortly afterward became the Zac Brown Band's newest member.
The Zac Brown Band's debut single, "Chicken Fried", was originally recorded in 2003 and included on the Home Grown album, but later re-recorded and released to country radio in 2008. This song was also recorded by The Lost Trailers, whose 2006 recording was released as a single but withdrawn after Brown decided that he wanted to release it himself. Brown also co-wrote "Simple Life", a song recorded by The Lost Trailers on their 2006 self-titled album.
In October 2008, Atlantic Records acquired distribution of "Chicken Fried" after Live Nation Artists closed. The band's album The Foundation was released under Atlantic Records' newly re-established country division in association with the Home Grown/Big Picture label on November 18 of that year. "Chicken Fried" reached No. 1 on the country charts that same month, making them the first country band to reach No. 1 with a debut single since Heartland did so in 2006 with "I Loved Her First."
In July 2012, Zac Brown Band debuted their new CD, Uncaged, which was well received. Billboard considered the album to be the best country album of 2012 as of its release.
On January 20, 2013, Zac Brown Band performed the National Anthem during the NFC Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA
In January 2009, two months after "Chicken Fried" went to No. 1, Atlanta native Clay Cook joined the Zac Brown Band as its multi-instrumentalist and high tenor vocalist. Cook had previously collaborated with John Mayer and Shawn Mullins, and was also a member of the Marshall Tucker Band for two years prior to joining the Zac Brown Band. According to Cook, he and Brown actually both attended and graduated from high school together, but were never acquainted with each other during that period. He explains how he first met Brown:
We ran into each other (in) 2003 in a club scene in Atlanta, where I think my band opened up for his band...ever since then, we've been friendly...and I think he just thought I was a singer-songwriter for a long time; and then we were on a (music) cruise ship together...and I was playing with the Marshall Tucker Band at the time, and (Brown)'s band (also participated in the cruise)...and he actually got to see me play the guitar...and then he realized, 'I need this guy in my band,' I guess.
Brown himself admitted his strong desire to add Cook to the lineup, for he believed Cook's musicianship would enhance the Zac Brown Band's overall musical style:
I’d been tryin’ to get him in the band for three years, and you know, it’s been a journey, but I always knew [he could make us better]. I’m a harmony fanatic. I love big harmonies and things, and we didn’t have a high tenor, and Jimmy [De Martini], my fiddle player, sings a lot of the high stuff now, but havin’ somebody that can actually sing on top of that, we’ve added a four-part harmony now that’s searing, and the guy’s a monster player, too."
With the new Zac Brown Band lineup completed, the band released its second single, "Whatever It Is," which went to No. 2. In October 2009, a third single, "Toes," became the band's second Number One. The album's fourth single, and third No. 1, was "Highway 20 Ride". "Free" was the album's fifth single and on the week of August 21, 2010, it also peaked at Number One.
On April 25, 2012, it was announced via the Zac Brown Band's website that percussionist Daniel de los Reyes had joined the band on a permanent basis. De los Reyes had previously performed with the band as a touring musician and participated in the recording of their album Uncaged. De los Reyes has also performed with artists and groups such as Earth, Wind and Fire, Jennifer Lopez and Sting. "Goodbye in Her Eyes" reached Number One on the Country Airplay chart in 2013. The album's third single, "Jump Right In" released to country radio on February 25, 2013.
Since 2009, the Zac Brown Band has earned 55 award nominations from the Grammys, Academy of Country Music, American Music Awards, Country Music Association and Country Music Television, and has won 7.
They have received four nominations for the 2009 CMA Awards: New Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Single of the Year, and Music Video of the Year for their No. 1 single, "Chicken Fried". That same year, they received three Grammy nominations for Best Country Album, Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals and Best New Artist. On January 31, 2010, the band won the Grammy award for Best New Artist.
The Zac Brown Band was also nominated in 2009 for three ACM awards, "Album of the Year", "Top Vocal Group", and was one of eight contenders for "Entertainer of the Year".
The Zac Brown Band led the nominees for the 46th annual Academy of Country Music Awards 2011, with a total of nine nominations including: Top Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year, Single Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year.
|2009||Academy of Country Music||Top New Artist||Nominated|
|Top New Vocal Duo or Group||Won|
|CMT Music Awards||USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year — "Chicken Fried"||Won|
|Country Music Association Awards||New Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Vocal Group of the Year||Nominated|
|Single of the Year — "Chicken Fried"||Nominated|
|Song of the Year — "Chicken Fried"||Nominated|
|2010||Grammy Awards||Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals — "Chicken Fried"||Nominated|
|Best Country Album — The Foundation||Nominated|
|Best New Artist||Won|
|Academy of Country Music||Entertainer of the Year||Nominated|
|Top Vocal Group of the Year||Nominated|
|Album of the Year — The Foundation||Nominated|
|Single Record of the Year — "Toes"||Nominated|
|CMT Music Awards||Video of the Year – "Toes"||Nominated|
|Group Video of the Year – "Toes"||Nominated|
|Group Video of the Year – "Highway 20 Ride"||Nominated|
|Country Music Association Awards||Entertainer of the Year||Nominated|
|New Artist of the Year||Won|
|2011||Grammy Awards||Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals — "Free"||Nominated|
|Best Country Album — You Get What You Give||Nominated|
|Best Country Collaboration with Vocals — "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Won|
|Best Country Song — Free||Nominated|
|Academy of Country Music||Vocal Group of the Year||Nominated|
|Single of the Year — "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Nominated|
|Song of the Year — "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Nominated|
|Album of the Year — "You Get What You Give"||Nominated|
|Top Vocal Event of the Year — "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Won|
|CMT Music Awards||Video of the Year - "Colder Weather"||Nominated|
|Group Video of the Year - "Colder Weather"||Nominated|
|Performance of the Year - "Margaritaville" (Performed by Zac Brown Band and Jimmy Buffet)||Won|
|Country Music Association Awards||Vocal Group of the Year||Nominated|
|Single of the Year - "Colder Weather"||Nominated|
|Song of the Year - "Colder Weather"||Nominated|
|Album of the Year - "You Get What You Give"||Nominated|
|Musical Event of the Year - "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Nominated|
|American Music Awards||Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group||Nominated|
|American Country Awards||Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Duo/Group Artist of the Year||Nominated|
|Album of the Year - "You Get What You Give"||Nominated|
|Single of the Year - "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Nominated|
|Single By a Duo/Group - "Colder Weather"||Nominated|
|Single By a Vocal Collaboration - "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Nominated|
|Single By a Vocal Collaboration - "Knee Deep" (feat. Jimmy Buffett)||Nominated|
|Music Video by a Duo/Group/Collaboration - "As She's Walking Away" (feat. Alan Jackson)||Nominated|
|2012||CMA Awards||Vocal Group of the Year||Nominated|
|Musical Event of the Year (Alan Jackson feat. Zac Brown Band)||Nominated|
|2013||Grammy Awards||Best Country Album - Uncaged||Won|
|ACM Awards||Top Vocal Group||Nominated|
|Music Video of the Year - "The Wind"||Nominated|
|CMT Awards||Group Video of the Year||Nominated|
Along with recent commercial success, the band has made appearances at The Hangout Music Festival, Hullabalou Music Festival and the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2006, 2009, and 2010 along with an opening slot for the Dave Matthews Band during their 2010 Summer Tour. Also, after several years as perennial favorites on the annual The Rock Boat theme-cruise, the Zac Brown Band has been elevated to hosting their own theme-cruise, Sailing Southern Ground, in September 2010. In Fall of 2009, the band began offering fan-club members the ability to purchase tickets to VIP Eat & Greet experiences before the majority of their tour appearances. These events afford fans the opportunity to share a meal with band-members before the show, and have become a integral part of the overall Zac Brown Band live experience.
Zac Brown Band completed a three-night, headlining stint at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Wednesday, May 8th, 2013, Thursday, May 9th, 2013, and Friday, May 10th, 2013. All three performances were completely sold out.
|Awards and achievements|
|Grammy Award for Best New Artist
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