By Annie Reuter
Zac Brown Band have returned to their roots with their latest album, Welcome Home. Released in May, their follow-up to 2015’s Jekyll + Hyde has become the band’s fourth consecutive No. 1 country album and fifth consecutive top ten album on the Billboard 200, debuting at No. 2.
The band announced the record earlier this year and promised a personal release. Produced by GRAMMY Award-winner Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell), the record recalls the band’s early beginnings with comparisons to the breakthrough album The Foundation.
“We decided to write the most personal record we’d ever written, about the things that matter the most to us, the struggles and the celebrations of life and our relationships with our families. That’s where this began,” frontman Zac Brown previously told USA Today.
This distinct direction can be heard on the album’s lead single, “My Old Man,” where Brown sings of hoping to bestow the lessons he’s learned from his father onto his son.
“Family Table,” meanwhile, showcases the moments captured together with loved ones around the dinner table. Another track, the poignant “2 Places at 1 Time,” tells the tale of the often difficult task of juggling life on the road with spending quality time with one’s family.
Throughout Welcome Home, Brown’s memorable warm vocals are showcased as is the standout musicianship of his longtime band members including Jimmy De Martini (vocals/violin/guitar), John Driskell Hopkins (vocals/guitar/banjo/ukulele), Coy Bowles (vocals/keys/guitar), Clay Cook (vocals/guitar/keys), Chris Fryar (drums), Daniel de los Reyes (percussion) and Matt Mangano (bass).
Long admired for their impressive cover songs in concert, Brown & Co. also include a moving rendition of John Prine’s “All The Best” with Kacey Musgraves on Welcome Home. As on every song, the band makes it their own musically alongside delicate vocals from both Brown and Musgraves.
The album’s release coincides with their Welcome Home Tour, which runs through Oct. 29. “We’re looking forward to heading back on the road in 2017 and sharing some new songs with our fans,” Brown said in a press release upon the announcement of the band’s new album and tour.
“We have a whole new album, a new set, new video, a new approach,” Brown later told Entertainment Weekly. “We’re not using the horns or the choir right now. We’re gonna be playing all of this new stuff, some new covers. It’s going to be something really special when people come back. And that’s our job. We owe that to these people.”
With a new tour and a new album, Zac Brown Band continue to leave a lasting mark within the country genre.