What does it sound like?:
Zac Brown isn’t just trying to sell records, he’s selling a way of life, a Southern Fried way of life, and he’s doing it very successfully. He has an astute business mind. On the way to this, his seventh studio album, he set up his own record label, Home Grown, opened a restaurant and developed a line of barbecue sauces. His first hit was Chicken Fried and, since then, he has picked up three Grammys.
He and his band are as tight as a small community and they play a highly professional, appealingly commercial Country style. His voice is a warm, comforting aubergine and the tunes are homespun and inclusive. There was a feeling they over elaborated on their last couple of albums, so here they are back to the simplicity of their breakthrough, The Foundation, with some songs completed in one take. It’s very skilfully produced and very easy on the ear. Ten tracks, forty minutes, job done. It will sound equally good on the radio or in a concert hall.
It is indeed a Welcome Home for the band after a long time on the road. Look at the song titles, Roots, Real Thing, Family Table, My Old Man, Start Over and All The Best. This is music with its feet firmly on the ground. The album evokes a family gathering in the sunshine, barbecue smoking away, a few beers being drunk, children and dogs running around. Then, dad fishes out his guitar, uncle Jimmy places his fiddle under his chin, cousin Clay tickles an ivory and they are away until the sun sets.
The trouble is Welcome Home is just too cosy, too safe. It is middle of the road Country music with no mention of hardship nor emotional distress. Every song is the perfect soundbed to the end of a CSI Miami episode as Horatio Caine leans his head to one side and makes a cheesy comment on the profound importance of family. After six listens, it makes me want to scream like Roger Daltrey.
What does it all *mean*?
MOR can be found in every musical genre.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…