Band: ZAC BROWN BAND
Label: Atlantic/Homegrown/Bigger Picture
Contributed by: Scott Sexton
The Zac Brown Band is at it again with their latest release, "Uncaged." It is a wonderful mix of Country and Reggae, smashed with a little Bluegrass and Blues, which will make you feel great at times and look inward in others. They are such a diverse band; it is a new treat with each record they release. Kicking things off with "Jump Right In," the Zac Brown Band proves that's the only way to do anything. There is a beach flare in the music, but the words are absolute perfection and speak to your soul. The title track features that Blues sound that was mentioned earlier. Zac's voice is pure talent. This is such an interesting track and explains how we are all "Uncaged." "Goodbye in Her Eyes" and "The Wind" are great and deserve to be mentioned, but "Sweet Annie" is a personal favorite. This is a great story song that tells the life of a man who has lived in the fast life and chased the wild side of the world. After promising "Annie" the world, he now knows that is something he has never given her, and he is asking for her help. It is awesome how these types of songs can touch each person differently, but to me, this is the best track on the entire album. "Natural Disaster" and "Lance's Song" offer the listener something truly special, but after noticing that Zac Brown teamed up with Amos Lee on "Day That I Die," there was no doubt it would stand strong among the others. Both of their voices blend like a fine wine. Nothing beats how their chemistry showcases in each word. The Zac Brown Band's "Uncaged" is a great piece of work that will surely stand the test of time.
The Zac Brown Band has taken the past four years to do things their way and in the process have set the Nashville music industry on fire with their outside of the realm thinking. Their jam band styled live show has captured massive audiences much due in part to their musicianship expertise while country radio has not been shy to help deliver hit song after hit song for the group. With the release of their 3rd album, Uncaged, listeners see the group stretch the boundaries that much more and experiment with a healthy offering of new sounds and styles while still adding some of the familiarity that we have come to expect from them. “Island Song” in particular sticks with the familiarity by offering the reggae-tinged, fun in the sun sound, similar to what we have heard from songs like “Toes” and “Knee Deep.” However, this is really where straight up comparisons to the past end. Touching on an R&B styled sound you get songs like “Overnight,” finding a California inspired styled southern rock vibe they offer “Goodbye In Her Eyes,” and with the lead single “The Wind,” the group introduces us to a more bluegrass flavored style unlike anything that we have experienced in the past from them. While at times this album comes across as all over the place due to the variety in sound and style, the Zac Brown Band somehow pulls it all together to make for a solid listen from start to finish. If you are looking for the same things you have come to expect from ZBB, while you may get hints of it here or there on this album, for the most part they incorporate new sounds and styles into the listeners ears as they continue to build on the outside of the box and expand their horizons even further than they already have.