Review: Zac Brown Band, 'You Get What You Give'
In the two years since the breakout success of The Foundation — not to mention that breakout album's big hokey hit, Chicken Fried — Atlanta's shaggy Zac Brown Band has become one of the most beloved new acts of the 21st century. Its chummy formula is smart, slick but unforced: Slightly stoned country-rock + epic live show energy + a hipness that transcends Nashville conformity = a multiplatinum sextet that will sell great quantities of new album You Get What You Give, which dropped this week.
Brown and his crusty cohorts — all of whom sound well-marinated in barbecue sauce, discount Viceroys and Budweiser — once again embrace both a party vibe (Whiskey's Gone) and a solemn blue-collar aesthetic (I Play the Road), dropping in overt cameos by Jimmy Buffett (Knee Deep) and Alan Jackson (As She's Walking Away) right next to a 10-minute head-bangin' sprawl-out for the Kid Rock dirtballs (Who Knows). Brown's voice hovers between Jack Johnson chill and Kenny Chesney populism, but he's just as fine shutting up and ripping off a jam with his talented mates. There's nothing new or risky on You Get What You Give, but therein lies its takeout appeal: It's finger-pickin' good.
The Narc Playlist
It was a bittersweet feeling being sold down the river by my morally superior 6-year-old daughter. On one hand, I was proud of her gumption, her independence, her moxie; on the other, I now like her 2-year-old sister much, much better. A few Sundays ago, I took saintly Kid Lulu, who's 6 going on 37, and giggly butterball Mai-Mai, who's 2 and sturdier than a VW Bug, to Lowry Park Zoo, where we ignored every animal and instead dropped $475 on ride tokens. Everything was going fine . . . until we got in line for Boomer's Flyin' Bananas, a benign spinny attraction. The sign said "3 and Up," but Mai-Mai is built like Mike Alstott; she'd be fine! The dour ride attendant, whose night job presumably was cracking kneecaps for the Mob, asked for Lu and Mai's ages. "They're 6 and 3," I fibbed with a flutter of eyelash. Lulu stopped cold, her blue eyes wide with horror: "Dad! Mai-Mai is only 2! She's not 3!" The attendant slowly lifted her head, her mafioso gaze a mask of your-butt-is-mine. "Is this true, sir?" "Uh, no." "No, what?" "No, she's 3." "Daaaddd!" "Sir, the zoo is only insured for 3 and up on this ride." "Uhhh . . ." "DAAAD!" "Sir . . ." "Okay, fine! Fine! Lu, climb into a flippin' banana! Mai-Mai, let's go feed goats!" To which Mai replied: "BANANAAAAAS!" Making matters worse, the ride attendant hushed to Lulu: "Thank you for telling the truth." My daughter beamed, then shot me a scolding look. It was the birth of a narc — and an honest young woman. Sigh. Guess I should just gladly do the time for this one, huh?
1. Ride or Die, Jay-Z
2. What's My Age Again? Blink-182
3. Busted in Baylor County, Shooter Jennings
4. Trapped, Bruce Springsteen
5. Lies, Thompson Twins
6. Goody Two Shoes, Adam Ant
7. Shut Up, Black Eyed Peas
8. Daughter, Pearl Jam
9. You Can't Blame the Youth, Bob Marley
10. Honesty, Billy Joel
Download This! Alejandro Escovedo's 'This Bed Is Getting Crowded'
Alejandro Escovedo excels at a gritty brand of border rock — and a friendship with Bruce Springsteen — but the Texan has never had huge commercial success. If there were ever a song to bring him that, however, it's This Bed Is Getting Crowded, a wicked sex-up from new album Street Songs of Love. With a menacing bass line, arena-filling guitars and sweaty lyrics that bemoan and embrace passion 'tween the sheets, This Bed Is Getting Crowded is just plain wicked, Viagra in song form. You'll thank me in the morning. Hear this gem at tampabay.com/blogs/poplife.