Zac Brown Band is an American country music band based in Atlanta, Georgia. The lineup consists of Zac Brown, (lead vocals, guitar), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, organ), Chris Fryar (drums) and Clay Cook (guitar, organ, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals). The band has toured throughout the United States, including a slot on the 2009 and 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival. It has also recorded four studio albums, and charted four singles on the Billboard country charts in the Number Ones "Chicken Fried" and "Toes", the #2 "Whatever It Is" and the Top 10 "Highway 20 Ride." In 2010 Zac Brown Band won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
Zac Brown, born the 11th of 12 children, was raised in Dahlonega, Georgia. He attended Lumpkin County High School, in Dahlonega in addition to South Forsyth High School in Cumming,GA. He began playing guitar as a teenager. He was often seen walking the halls of his high school playing guitar during his off period and between classes, just like the infamous, so-called "that dude." Previously, Brown and his father owned a restaurant in the Lake Oconee area of Georgia called "Zac's Place". Zac attended the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA. He joined Kappa Alpha Order, but only stayed in college for two years. Zac Brown also began work as a philanthropist and humanitarian, planning income from his current album to enable the funding of the non-profit Homegrown Camp, designed as an "all inclusive children's camp that will teach diversity, freedom, teamwork, social justice, nutritional awareness, liberty and life skills as well as music and art".
The Zac Brown Band released its first album, Far from Einstyne, in 2004, followed by Home Grown a year later. A live album entitled Live from the Rock Bus Tour followed in 2007 on the Home Grown label.
The Zac Brown Band then signed to Live Nation Records in 2008. Their first single, "Chicken Fried", was originally recorded in 2003 and included on the Home Grown album, but later re-recorded and released to country radio in 2008. This song was also recorded by The Lost Trailers, whose 2006 recording was released as a single but withdrawn after Brown decided that he wanted to release it himself instead. Brown also co-wrote "Simple Life", a song recorded by The Lost Trailers on their 2006 self-titled album.
In October 2008, Atlantic Records took over distribution of "Chicken Fried." The band's album, The Foundation, was released under Atlantic Records' newly re-established country division in association with Home Grown/Big Picture label on November 18, 2008. The group had been previously signed with Live Nation Artists Records. "Chicken Fried" reached Number One on the country charts in November 2008, making them the first country band to reach Number One with a debut single since Heartland did so in 2006 with "I Loved Her First." In January 2009, Clay Cook joined as a multi-instrumentalist, and the band released its second single, "Whatever It Is." Like "Chicken Fried" before it, this song has reached Top 5 on the country charts and Top 40 on the pop charts. In July 2009, a third single, "Toes," was released and this became their second Number One hit in late October 2009. "Highway 20 Ride" is the album's fourth single.
Zac Brown Band received four nominations for the 2009 CMA Awards including New Artist of the Year, as well as Song of the Year, Single of the Year, and Music Video of the Year for their Number One single, "Chicken Fried". They also received three Grammy nominations for Best Country Album, Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals and Best New Artist. On January 31, 2010, the band won the award for Best New Artist. Zac Brown Band becoming the fifth country artist to win the Best New Artist, after Bobbie Gentry, Debby Boone, LeAnn Rimes, and Carrie Underwood.
The group has been nominated for three ACM awards, "Album of the Year", "Top Vocal Group", and is one of the eight contenders for "Entertainer of the Year". The groups' next album, The Jar, is set to be released on May 4th, 2010 and the first single will be released after "Highway 20 Ride" peaks.