Text by @KralTunes

I am not a fan of contemporary country music.  The twang, the “country rebels” that look like they just walked off of an Ambercrombie photo shoot, and the fact that 99% of male country singers sound EXACTLY alike…are kind of a turn off.  Not to mention, I defy you to find one country song that does not adhere to what I have dubbed the 10 Commandments of Country.

I. Trucks                                              VI. Lovin’ the troops

II. Beer/Whiskey                                  VII. Your hometown (which is small)

III. Hot country girls in summer            VIII. Partying it up in paradise (identified as the ‘Jimmy Buffett Syndrome’)

IV. The love of a good woman              IX. Some dive bar that everybody loves

V. ‘MERICA                                          X. and, of course, God/religion

(Disclaimer…This list is geared more towards the male country singer, whereas the female country singer {while they do stray into this territory from time to time} focus more heavily on southern-tinged lovey-dovey nonsense).

thSo why is the ZAC BROWN BAND (ZBB) my one hillbilly guilty pleasure? They are faithful to the Commandments, but they are also not afraid to veer off into unfamiliar territory and pull out an incredible 10-minute-mud-stomping-jam.  Their aptly titled release JEKYLL + HYDE’s new pile of songs will appease the fair-weather pop fans with the standard singles that everyone expects (the ‘LOVING YOU’-‘HOMEGROWN’ run is pleasant enough, and hits on commandments 2,4,7, and 10, to boot), but they will throw those occasional curves that real fans will love.  One minute,  ZBB’s got you sitting on the front porch of your little secluded acre of paradise, the next you’re chain smoking, sipping whiskey and be-bopping down the boulevard with the Rat Pack on ‘MANGO STREET’ (a pleasant surprise).  ‘HEAVY IS THE HEAD’ is a balls to the wall southern rocker featuring Chris Cornell, and now the album is starting to pick up some steam (at least I thought).

Unfortunately, the band reverts back to their successful formula too often with tracks like ‘CASTAWAY‘ (commandment no. 8), ‘ONE DAY‘ (no. 4), and ‘DRESS BLUE’ (no. 6).  Each of these tracks are constructed and performed quite well, but they offer nothing new.

The reincarnation of ‘JUKYARD’ is a welcomed, good ole’ fashion hootenanny (or is it hoedown?), and really showcases their fantastic musicianship.  Additionally, ‘I’LL BE YOUR MAN’ is a touching love letter to a daughter, and I guarantee it will chalk up countless plays for years to come at wedding receptions.

Overall, the boys put forth a good solid effort on JEKYLL + HYDE; it will certainly please their legions of fans on tour this summer. But to this fan, “HEAVY..’ was a tease and a few songs should have been left on the cutting floor (the American Idol auto-tune sounding  ‘BEAUTIFUL DRUG’ is something I never need to hear again).  Though ZBB continues to explore different sounds, they still keep everything grounded in the Good Book.

And with that, we conclude today’s sermon.  Go in peace…


    1. Lol! Somehow I find that unlikely but to each his own. Perhaps you don’t get the point of the authors intentional humorous take. But please enlighten me as to why this is “The Worst Review You’ve Ever Read”.

      1. OK, I’ll play. The reference, or lack thereof(hmm…), to Junkyard’s Pink Floyd interpolation as a hoedown was particularly entertaining. Mocking the band for “Lovin’ The Troops” without any reference or inherent knowledge to and of Jason Isbell was equally amusing and is indicative of the author, you?, not truly understand the subject of your blog. Humorous? Meh, The Holier Than Thou angle certainly wasn’t entertaining. But you’ve received two clicks now! Congrats!

      2. (Andrew, I have serious request for you after my rebuttal, please read..)

        1. So that fact that I did not mention Pink Floyd by name was an egregious act, got it.
        2. The term ‘hoedown’ has NOTHING to do with Pink Floyd. (reminder: A. This is a satirical review B. ZBB is a country band, so the term ‘hoedown’ is used in a comical way (actually C. the whole ‘hoedown, hootenanny’ line is a reference to FAMILY GUY joke)
        3. You call me out for mocking the band with ‘Lovin the Troops’, when in fact, no such song exists..oh wait, you must mean “Dress Blue”, co-writen by Jason Isbell (learn your shit)
        If you read the review without your beer googles, you will see no disrespectful mention of Jason Isbell or our troops, merely the fact that glorifying the troops is a sacred commandment on my (humorous) 1o commandments of country music. (Off the record, my father was in the Air Force during Vietnam..I have no ill will towards veterans of any kind. I would never mock a veteran of any branch of our armed services).
        4. This is not my blog. I am just trying to help out a friend with her goal of becoming a journalist by providing content (regardless how ridiculous it may be) that people may click on(thanks for the 2 clicks, BTW). I am not a writer. I have no background in reviewing or critiquing music whatsoever. I just wanted to garner a response from people; drive traffic her way. The fact that little ole nobody me got TWO clicks out of you makes me a success story, so thank you or that!!!
        You may not think my ‘humour’ is funny, and that is OK.(I actually enjoy the conflict).

        Now that this is behind us… I do have a serious request.. I would like to interview you. No Bullshit… you felt the need to respond to my bullshit reviews, I want to know why? What made you spend time out of your day to respond to my nonsense. Were you that offended by my satire that you were compelled to prove me wrong?

        This is not a joke! I would really like to talk to you about these via email. It would only be 5 or so questions. If interested, simply reply to this message , provide an email, and I will deliver the questions.

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