Music News & Reviews

What to know about the eclectic Zac Brown Band before Oct. 18 concert in Fresno

Zac Brown Band will perform live at the Save Mart Center Sunday, Oct. 18.
Zac Brown Band will perform live at the Save Mart Center Sunday, Oct. 18. Special to The Bee

The Zac Brown Band is the future of country music – a group as eclectic and genre-busting as they are popular.

“Sometimes, we are just looking for a different sound than the ‘pop’ sound we’ve been getting a lot of lately,” says Jody Jo Mize, morning show host and music director at KISS Country (KSKS, FM 93.7).

That would explain the success of the band’s latest album “Jekyll + Hyde,” which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top 200.

In advance of the band’s stop Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Save Mart Center, Mize helped us put together a quick list of what you should know about the Zac Brown Band.

Genre-less

For simple classification purposes, we’ll say this is a country band, though the Georgia eight-piece has always pushed those boundaries. At a recent show at the Hollywood Bowl the band covered everyone from Van Morrison to Red Hot Chili Peppers and John Mayer. They turned the latter’s song “Neon” into a 10-minute jam.

It’s current album features collaborations with Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell and pop singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles and Brown has recently said he’s exploring EDM, which will likely show up on the next record.

Popular

To prove the band’s popularity, we could look at the charts or list of awards (the 2012 Grammy for best country album, for example). More recently though, the streaming service Spotify combed through more than 4,000 playlists and determined that Zac Brown Band’s 2008 anthem “Chicken Fried” was the most popular tailgating song – across all genres.

The song was the band’s first charting single and their first No. 1 hit on Billboard‘s country charts.

He’s so humble. The whole band is.

KISS Country morning show host Jody Jo Mize

The fan experience

Part of the band’s popularity no doubt comes from the fact that they really want to know their fans, Mize says. Instead of a regular cattle-call meet-and-greets that many bands do (where fans get a hand shake, a quick pic and autograph), Zac Brown Band does an “eat ‘n’ greet,” Mize says.

“They serve you a down-home comfort food meal and make their way around and sit with everyone just chatting. It’s pretty cool!”

Also of note: Brown is an accomplished chef. He even has own cookbook, “The Southern Ground Cookbook.”

“All the food at their ‘eat‘n’greet’ are Zac’s personal recipes,” Mize says.

Zac Brown Band

  • 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18
  • Save Mart Center
  • Tickets: $39.50-$74.50
  • 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster
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