Zac Brown Band: Jekyll + Hyde


A Zac Brown Band concert is infamous for genre hopping – one minute it’s one of the group’s country hits, next it’s a cover of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica. When you look at their concert formula, it is not a huge surprise to see the band’s latest release, Jekyll + Hyde genre hop just as much – a departure from their previous studio efforts.

The album leads off with “Beautiful Drug” which slowly builds up into more of a pop song than the country-rock the band is known for. Do I hear some electronic drums in the mix? With its tempo and buildup it makes for a perfect opening track.

Songs like “Loving You Easy” and even more-so “Mango Tree” feel like they were crafted for pop-radio with the later giving Brown a chance to sound more like Frank Sinatra than his country counterparts. And surprisingly, it works really well and acts a great showcase for his strong voice that previously releases lacked.

“Homegrown”, the album’s lead single, is not only the standout but features the band’s classic sound with their rich harmonies. Turn up the banjo and acoustic guitars and this is a classic country tune, turn those down and the electric guitars up and it could easily fit into the alternative rock scene.

Fans looking for the more rock-sound will enjoy “Junkyard” a guitar-driven track that has the feel it was born out of a jam when the guitars were turned up too loud. The Chris Cornell, of Audioslave and Soundgarden fame, duet “Heavy is the Hand” has been seeing steady play on rock-radio.

The songs are very well crafted and each hold their own with the potential for several singles across different formats.  As a album this plays out more of a greatest hits then a traditional album in the sense each track goes from one musical plane to another.

A casual fan looking for follow up to the band’s previous hits may be disappointed with the experimentation, but with an open-mind listeners can come to enjoy each of the songs on the album.

Yet, perhaps the most intriguing part of this album is what direction will the band head in for the future? And is it possible for them to firmly extend their reach from country superstars to household names in the rock and pop arenas.

Quick Start – Three songs to quickly gauge the album:

  • “Homegrown”
  • “Mango Tree”
  • “Junkyard”

About Author

Living among the too-many-to-count theme parks of Orlando, FL, Andrew is always looking for an excuse to check out a show, buy some vinyl, modify (instead of play) his guitars, and eat food your mom would consider unhealthy.

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