Zac Brown Band - You Get What You Give
Record Label: Atlantic Records/Southern Ground
Release Date: Sept. 21, 2010
The Georgia sextet Zac Brown Band threw the music world for a loop when it won Best New Artist at the 2010 Grammy's. Though their emergence on the national spectrum was not much of a surprise to country music fans –––– who helped the band place five singles from their 2008 major label debut The Foundation ––––– they were seen as outsiders and relative newcomers to most. Their follow-up to the 2x platinum-selling The Foundation is the comfortable and corny You Get What You Give, a collection of tender, midtempo arrangements with more platitudes than a Hallmark gift shop.
That's not to say that the album is weak, in fact it's rather strong, but the saccharine nature of the lyrics and the tepid arrangements do leave a bit to be desired. Of the 14 tracks, the high points include the plaintive piano ballad "Colder Weather," the reggae-infused Jimmy Buffet-duet "Knee Deep," the raucous cutup "Make This Day," and the Alan Jackson duet "As She's Walking Away." Soon-to-be single "No Hurry," borrows the same message as album opener, "Let it Go," and the timeless "Quiet Your Mind," all of them paeans to simplicity and carefree, easy living. Even worse is penultimate cut "Martin," a winsome acoustic ballad that unfortunately is written about Brown's guitar.
When the band tries to cut it loose, such as the Carribbean-influenced "Settle Me Down," the 10-minute jam-band epic "Who Knows," and the gnomic bluegrass cut "Whiskey's Gone," they put their best foot forward and offer a sense of urgency and pace not seen on much of the collection. Those high points elucidate the fact that their Grammy Award was certainly well-deserved, but why must they be so few and far between?
All negativty aside, Brown's rising tenor is indeed one of popular music's strongest instruments and it wears itself well here. That simple fact is probably why years from now, the history books will look back on these Peach Tree boys with
fondness and affection. Though You Get What You Give is not their strongest offering to date, it certainly points to a most promising future. And that in and of itself is probably all the music world really needs.