The Zac Brown Band is easily at or near the top of the line of mainstream country music. Since their debut record, The Foundation, they have been writing and recording some of the best songs in music and putting on a rip-roaring live show. The most interesting thing is that Zac Brown and the boys make all this music that is very well received by traditional fans, and they don’t even claim to be a country band! They consider themselves a southern rock band with strong country influences. Their latest single, “Homegrown”, takes on that southern rock image straight on, but keeps its country sound. This should be a big hit for the Zac Brown Band.
The guys have been a little AWOL for a while on mainstream radio. Their last album, Uncaged, produced some huge hits like “Sweet Annie” and Goodbye In Her Eyes”, but that was a few years ago. They did an excellent EP with Dave Grohl titled The Grohl Sessions, which produced the track “All Alright”, but it wasn’t a significant radio hit. “Homegrown” marks the band’s official return to mainstream radio. Lyrically, the song has a lot of the checklist items of modern country, but they deliver it with a little more earnestness and emotion than most. Sure, nothing about the lyrics will inspire you or change the world, but it’s a decent little ditty about the simple life that isn’t dumbed down or parody, so that’s just fine.
The song has a lot more umph than your typical Zac Brown song. If you buy their full albums or see them in concert, you know they can make some noise. However, a lot of their radio success has been with quieter, more acoustic-driven songs. That is a strange phenomenon considering the state of modern country. “Homegrown” is certainly the most commercial, loud, “southern rock” style of country music that they have put out to radio. It has a loud drum beat and big guitars. It isn’t the most country song you’ve ever heard, but it doesn’t go out of its way to offend either.
Let’s call a spade a spade. After The Grohl Sessions, Zac Brown needed a big hit to get the band back on the radio waves in regular rotation. They had a little dry spell, and in order to turn it around, they dipped into their cash-cow: small-town life. I’m not hating, I’m just pointing this out. “Homegrown” probably won’t win any awards or spawn any new fans. It probably won’t make a lot of people mad either. What it will do is get the Zac Brown Band back on the radio with a decent and catchy, if ultimately forgettable, tune. Mission accomplished. “Homegrown” is an ok song, and it will serve its purpose well.