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4.8 out of 5 stars
The Foundation
Format: Audio CDChange
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94 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I first heard ZBB when they opened for Los Lonely Boys in October '08, just before "Chicken Fried" became a bona-fide hit. I had never in my life heard of them, yet I walked away from that show a die-hard fan. These guys are all amazing musicians, fluidly traversing across genres song in and song out, be it country, rock, reggae, or bluegrass. They have a sound all their own that is firmly grounded in southern roots. Their songs are all heartfelt and catchy, and unlike so many of the polished and overproduced pop acts that dominate the country charts that are computerized shadows of themselves, these guys are legit - truly at home on the stage. Like another reviewer stated, there's not a song on this CD that I ever skip.

In spite of not fitting the mold that mainstream country would just love to cram them into (think Rascal Flatts,) I have a feeling these guys are going to be around, on their own terms, for a long, long time. I'm already pining for the next album. That's why I think they are the "Real Deal."
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Although they aren't "cookie cutter" typical radio-ready country, the Zac Brown Band suddenly have found themselves with a #1 smash country hit, "Chicken Fried", a catchy tune with great harmony and fiddle playing. Surprisingly, their album is a nice mix of a variety of music that is really hard to describe. Think half island/reggae country similar to Kenny Chesney's - and half bluegrass country similar to Union Station. Soothing, relaxing, and just great to pop in and chill out...chicken fried comfort music for the soul!

I hope ZBB continues to put out more of this awesome music...very pure and not over-produced at all! It's rare for the modern country music industry to accept non-mainstream music, and it's so nice to see some variety for a change...so I hope this trend continues and they get more national recognition. They are a very talented band, and i love their simple acoustic style...awesome stuff!!!

Song to check out: "Whatever It Is" (track #2)
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Prime Cuts: Toes, Highway 20 Ride, Chicken Fried

One of the most surprising success news of late is the rise to fame of Zac Brown Band. Despite selling over 30,000 records without a major label, Zac Brown Band was essentially still a southern band in its own confining niche. However, the tables were turned with their new record, when the single "Chicken Fried" became a top 5 country hit. A southern rock indulgence into southern living, "Chicken Fried" has a down home feel that has indeed struck a chord with country radio. Interestingly, "Chicken Fried" (though a Zac Brown original) was first recorded by Lost Trailers and almost became a single before the powers that be gave them the red light. Most gratifying is that this entire disc is co-produced by Keith Stegall whose most impressive item on his resume was helming most of Alan Jackson's record. Stegall's fingerprints are all over the disc, just like with those Jackson records, Stegall has imbued each track here with a stripped down feel clad exiguously with fiddles, steel and all those rustic greats. This is a definite relief from the pummeling of those extensive electric guitar riffs and ear-popping drums.

What relives "The Foundation" from any soporific moments is that there's not a standard sonic palette by which all of these 11 tracks emerge. Rather, variety is the beauty. The disc takes on a good start with the Jimmy Buffett-esque "Toes." Such an evocation of a hedonistic lifestyle of lazing at the beach is further encouraged by the tune's bright and sunny melody. "Highway 20 Ride," on the hand, swings the mood to the other extreme. A gorgeous road song with a searing heartache, Brown's yearning and sensitive vocal nuances really bring out a whole level of emotional significance. While the reggae feel of the beer drinking "Where the Boat Leaves From" re-defines the barroom genre by cross breeding Texas honky tonk with Caribbean boogie. Brown does exhibit that he has good taste in women on the propulsive pop-leaning "Different Kind of Fine," when he sings: "Implants and tummy tucks, she sure don't need those/She's a cool drink of water when the summers mean/Poured into those Levis jeans/She's country as the day is long."

A minute long fiddling intros "Free," a lethargic sounding love song that passes muster without being exceptional. Despite spouting lyrical nonsense, "Sic' em Out Chicken" is saved from its jovial melody and Brown somehow light hearted delivery. Much more substantial is the socially conscious "It's Not Ok" made even more piquant by its unusual melody breaks. "Jolene," not the Dolly Parton hit of the same name, is written by Ray LaMontge, is a slow tortured country ballad of lost love marred by its overt reference to drugs.

As a band, these five men are pretty self-contained. Save for one track, they co-wrote or wrote most of these songs with lead singer Zac Brown making the lion's share contribution. "The Foundation" bolsters some exceptional infrastructures with some tracks that exhibit individuality, attitude and style; whilst others veer on the ordinary side, without ever being inferior. Overall, Stegall's unobtrusive and imaginative arrangements are to be commended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2008
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I've seen the band perform and liked their laid back vibe but honestly, I bought this CD just because I love the song "Chicken Fried". When I got it and popped it in the CD player I just let it run. It is one of the few CDs I own that I can honestly say there isn't a single song that I'd fast forward through. I like them all. After just one day, I'm already humming them to myself and recommending the CD to all my friends. What a great surprise!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I have known Zac since college and I have been following him since he played at the Border on a thursday night in Carrollton, GA! He, the band, and their music have this magical ability to draw people in. Those who have never heard them, love them by the end of the night. The CD is "feel good music." This is the beginning of an amazing career for Zac and this band.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is one of those CDs that I can't fathom taking out of my CD player. It's soulful, down to earth, good music. I just hope they keep writing great music like this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
Great Cd by a Band I thought I'd hate. I'm not a huge fan of todays style of music, so I was a little hesitant to purchase the cd. After hearing Chicken Fried and Whatever It Is, I was hooked. Then when Toes came out, I thought they were a Kenny Chesney rip off band, and finally they released Highway 20 ride, so I had to buy it, and There's not a bad song on the cd. Alot of people will think the same as I did, but the cd as the ZBB says is just a Different Kind of Fine
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I bought this CD b/c I loved two songs, "whatever it is," and "Toes." However, after listening to the entire CD, I fell in love with almost every song. My new favorite song is "Chicken Fried." If you like any of these three songs, you'll love the entire CD.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I was shopping at a CD store for a Cd and I walked by a shelf of CDs and saw The Brown Band CD. I had never heard of this group, I picked it up and bought it along with another Cd that I had went in to buy. I put it in my CD player in my car and have played it over and over again. I love all the songs on this Cd. Now that I heard Chicken Fried I realized I have heard this song on a my country music station. I really love the song "Mary" cuz my name is Mary. I have never just picked up a Cd like this without knowing anything at all about the group, but I am sure glad I did! I hope they come out with another CD soon.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I have to admit that I'm not a huge country music fan but while I was tuning into the CMA's I saw their performance of the "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" and it sparked my interest in this group. I'm so glad that I saw their performance because I purchased The Foundation and I was not disappointed one bit. There is not a weak track on this cd. Pure country with a touch of reggae/island music. Love it and hope you buy it too for something fun to listen to.
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