Zac Brown Band — “The Wind”

Karlie Justus Marlowe | July 9th, 2012

zacbrownbandphotocolecassell

Songwriters: Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Levi Lowrey, and Zac Brown Band

Flipping through the radio dial, it’s easy to mistake Zac Brown Band’s new single for the kind of traditional romps usually relegated to token off-hour, old-timey music shows.

Past that initial confusion, there’s little to begrudge from “The Wind,” a rare gem of high energy fiddle riffs and intricate guitar picking on current mainstream airwaves, and the first offering off the band’s upcoming album Uncaged.

Beyond the novelty of its highly concentrated country sound, “The Wind” also delivers in its storytelling. As the protagonist, Zac Brown describes his heartache from the perspective of an airplane’s window seat, a twist on from-the-road love songs that have long been a part of the country catalog. Lines such as “The city lights look like a country sky/Like staring at the stars turned upside down” and “30, 000 feet above the city where I fell in love with you/And the fadin’ concrete skyline brings an urban lullaby that still rings true” create an interesting juxtaposition of understated, elegant poetry with the attention-grabbing, earnest musicianship.

Contrast is clearly a concept the Zac Brown Band understands. Since hitting the scene in 2008 with “Chicken Fried,” the group managed to escape any sort of list-making, chest-thumping stereotype the song could have demanded. Since then, the band has been hard to nail down, between beachy drinking songs with Jimmy Buffett, neo-traditional spins with its mentor-of-sorts Alan Jackson and one particularly fiery take on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” on the 2009 CMA Awards.

It’s fitting, then, that they also employ another classic contrast by pairing the song’s quick pace and upbeat energy with wistful, nostalgic words. Perhaps taking a cue from Jackson’s many variations on this theme, the band rallies around Brown with a swirl of instrumentation. The effect is a dizzying rush through a relationship’s regrets, so quickly you almost forget where you just were – exactly the point, perhaps, of putting the break-up into song.

Up until its last fiddle licks, “The Wind” is a satisfying culmination of fun and sadness set to one of the best musical backings in recent radio memory. And while Uncaged is sure to pull from a host of genres, it’s great to hear the Zac Brown Band in its full-on country jam band glory.

Thumbs Up

  1. Kelly D.
    July 9, 2012 at 8:32 am

    I’ve always enjoyed the ZBB, so I’m pumped to hear the new stuff. Is it me, or does their band pics seem to include more people every time a new one is posted somewhere?

  2. bob
    July 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Good song & review. It was “Toes” and that “fiery take on ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ on the 2009 CMA Awards” you mentioned that got me on the ZBB bandwagon – plus Zac’s vocals I should add. The wait for the new album ends tomorrow.

  3. Ken Morton, Jr.
    July 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Kelly D, ZBB did add another member earlier this year. Percussionist Daniel de los Reyes had been playing with the band for about a year, but was officially added as a new band member in April.

  4. Occasional Hope
    July 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I love this single.

  5. Jonathan Pappalardo
    July 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    One of the best mainstream singles of the year so far

  6. Ben Foster
    July 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    I love this. It’s so refreshing to hear a mainstream single with a GREAT production that’s fun to listen to. There are too many songs these days in which, even when the singing and songwriting are okay, we still have to put up with a poor, watered-down production.

  7. Dave W.
    September 18, 2012 at 11:23 am

    I love the ZBB and this song is very cool and Country.

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