The Zac Brown Band is one of country music's most heralded acts, even if it doesn't fall neatly into Nashville stereotypes.
The band's contemporary take on country music has sold millions of records and won plenty of award recognition, including three Grammys.
But instead of a cowboy hat, you'll find frontman Zac Brown wearing a beanie. And for their last album, the musicians collaborated with a rock star.
But you can't argue with the strategy's success. The band's three platinum-selling albums -- "Uncaged," "You Get What You Give" and "The Foundation -- together have sold more than 6 million copies and produced a historic series of 10 No. 1 hit singles.
On the road, the group performed for more than 1.3 million fans in 2013, with 70-plus headline dates and more than a dozen major festival appearances.
On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the band will play UTC's McKenzie Arena. Sharing the stage with Brown (lead vocals, guitar) will be Chris Fryar (drums), Clay Cook (guitar, organ, mandolin, pedal steel, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, organ), Daniel de los Reyes (percussion), Jimmy De Martini (violin, vocals) and John Driskell Hopkins (bass, vocals).
five things to know about the Zac Brown Band
1 It all started with "Chicken Fried." The song, written by Brown and Wyatt Durrette, was included in ZBB's 2005 album, "Home Grown," then re-recorded as the first single from the band's first major-label studio album, 2008's "The Foundation." It became the band's first No. 1 hit. Brown originally pitched the song to Alan Jackson, but he turned it down because he "had just recorded several songs about food," Jackson told The Boot.
2 Ten of their hits have reached No. 1, including "Toes," "Highway 20 Ride," "Free" and Colder Weather." Another, "As She's Walking Away," gave Jackson another chance to work with the band. The song won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals and the Academy of Country Music's Top Vocal Event of the Year.
3 The band went to Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl for its latest project, a four-song collaboration titled "The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1" that debuted at No. 5 on the Top Country Albums chart. According to Taste of Country, the band met Grohl at the 2013 Grammy Awards. "We just knew (Grohl) was kind of a cool guy," said Cook. "And we were just trying to break away from our normal fashion (of recording) a little bit." During Super Bowl weekend, ZBB will join the Foo Fighters for the Bud Light Main Event Concert in New York City.
4 Their opening acts Wednesday, Levi Lowrey and A.J. Ghent Band, are signed to Brown's record label, Southern Ground. Lowrey has written songs with the band and performs regularly as a supporting act.
5 Rather than the traditional meet-and-greet sessions with fans, the band has become famous for its Eat & Greet tractor-trailer, which houses a full-service mobile kitchen. The practice capitalizes on Brown's personal experience as a former restaurant owner and executive chef, according to www.vividseats.com. Zac's Place opened as a restaurant and music venue in Lake Oconee, Ga., in 2004. Brown, owner and executive chef, served Southern gourmet food built on four generations' worth of family recipes. The restaurant was sold a year and a half later, and Brown used the money to buy the band a tour bus.
Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.