Zac Brown is in the middle of a “comeback” and he’s optimistic the rest of the country is ready to join him.
On Friday, the Zac Brown Band released their seventh studio album, “The Comeback”. Much of it is a return to form for the Atlanta-based country group – after Brown’s penchant for mixing genres reached new extremes in 2019.
Two years ago, the group released the hyper-eclectic “The Owl”, with collaborators including Swedish pop mastermind Max Martin and electronic dance giant Skrillex.
Brown took it a step further a week later with the surprise release of a solo album, “The Controversy”. It was introduced with a polarizing debut single, “Swayze,” in which the award-winning country singer raps the films of late 1980s star Patrick Swayze. Many observers have not forgotten that these two projects followed Brown’s divorce.
On “The Comeback”, however, the band’s proven country rock sound makes a roaring return.
“The only good thing about getting knocked over,” Brown sings with a familiar emphasis on the title track, “is the comeback when he comes back.”
“I feel like I’m more of myself now than I have been in a very long time,” Brown said. “Getting through storms and getting through the things in my personal life that I had to do. And then COVID would happen, crushing everything, but saving me a lot of time. And the best way to serve our fans during that time was to make this album. “
Brown says he “never intended to give up what we do with Zac Brown Band” with his many collaborations.
“I had just explored – what can I learn from all these other people? And now that I have these tools, how can I bring it all back and do something amazing? “
One way to do this is to spend “a hell of a lot of time” doing “The Comeback”. Brown extracted his 15 tracks from about 25 songs and remembers that he and his band mates created and rejected dozens of instrumental ideas to get the right mix for each song.
The album’s first single, “Same Boat”, might give listeners an unconscious flashback to the band’s early hits “Chicken Fried” and “Knee Deep”. But “Boating” isn’t about relaxing – it’s Brown’s appeal to fellow Americans to find common ground.
“We can all believe what we believe / Peacefully agree to disagree,” he sings over a finger-picked guitar, later adding, “If the ship continues to tip over, we’ll all go. on board. “
“These days, I don’t know if you can relate to that, but all I hear I’m wondering, ‘Who is manipulating me? “”, he said.
“Who’s forcing this program?” What reaction do they want me to have? And that’s not something that 10 years ago, 15 years ago, people even had to face … It’s worthy of our time to try to help bring people together, in a weird system that tries to tear everyone apart and get them to give them their vote.
On Sunday, the group returns to play at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on “The Comeback Tour” – after having to cancel several shows last month when Brown tested positive for COVID-19.
He says it “means everything” to be back on the road, and while he’s no stranger to the Nashville stages, he’s looking forward to the gig in a new way.
“The Comeback” is the band’s debut album on the new Warner Music Nashville label, and Brown has “never been connected to a label and people like this before.”
“I feel like Nashville is becoming a home from home for me for the first time.”
The Zac Brown Band will perform at the Bridgestone Arena on Sunday October 17th. The show begins at 7 p.m. with special guests Devin Dawson and Ashland Craft, and tickets are still available.