Zac Brown Band

Compared to airbrushed, frosted-bang pretty boys like Rascal Flatts, Atlanta's Zac Brown Band looks like it came straight to Nashville from a bare-knuckled dustup with the Kentucky Headhunters. However, the strand of Southern rock Brown and cohorts are steeped in most is the freeform Widespread Panic variety; their high harmonies and pickin' skills also make them probably the most bluegrass-­sounding act to make serious Music City inroads since either Alison Krauss or maybe even Ricky Skaggs. After several years of doing it the grassroots way, the ZBB is starting to draw serious industry attention — breakthrough (and still breaking) single "Chicken Fried" has been downloaded more than a million times, and next month, the group will open several Midwestern dates for Keith Urban. It's a band of good ol' boys, though, albeit modern ones — current single "Whatever It Is" sounds like second-generation Alabama, and the band is as likely to cover Pearl Jam's "Black" live as "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray