Don’t blame me for taking an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude after listening to “Beautiful Drug” and “Tomorrow Never Comes” off of their latest album Jekyll + Hyde, but Zac Brown and the Zac Brown Band have just released a new missive putting their fans on alert that they’re heading back into the studio soon, and will be “returning to their roots” on the new album.
We’ll have to see if those roots are “Chicken Fried,” or some other version of the band when they’ve challenged for the role of being one of the best things that mainstream country can offer. But according to the band, it could be along the same lines of their now 5-times platinum record from 2008, The Foundation.
“Hey everybody, this is a message for our fans, for all the ZBB fans. Thank you so much for all your loyalty and all of the love you’ve given us over the years,” Zac Brown says in the message recorded on a tour bus and posted on Wednesday (9-7).
After patting himself on the back for Jekyll + Hyde going platinum, Zac says “We’re going in this winter to make a brand new ZBB record, straight back to our roots, Foundation-style (referring to the band’s 2008 record). It’s going to be an amazing album, we’re very excited to announce to you that we’re making the new one, and thank you again for everything that you do for us.”
The message seems a little strange coming from the band. Usually artists like to keep album news close to the vest until album artwork, a release date, or usually the first single are released, but it does seem to symbolize that the band sees the need for a change of direction, and sees the importance of letting their fans know about it sooner than later.
If nothing else, Jekyll+Hyde was ambitious, trying to court not just country fans, but fans of rock and progressive metal, pop and EDM. It felt like an album intended to launch Zac Brown Band into an entirely new stratosphere, but its “jack of all trades, master of none” approach failed to receive much mainstream traction beyond the band’s already-established tentacles.
Zac Brown’s seeming desire to launch some sort of EDM presence, including collaborating with Avicii, failed to garner any long-term presence in the genre. Perhaps the band has finally woken up to the fact that they are who they are—a jammy-style Southern rock band from Georgia. Much of Jekyll+Hyde didn’t even feature a lot of instrumentation for Zac Brown’s stellar band.
Before we can sound any bells that the best years of the Zac Brown band could be in the offing once again, we should probably hear some of the new material. But Zac Brown sure is talking the talk. Zac just better not hear what Bobby Bones has to say about holding on to your roots, or he may second guess his decision.
— Zac Brown Band (@zacbrownband) September 7, 2016