On December 10, Zac Brown Band will release The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 on Zac's own Southern Ground Artists label via iTunes (with physical copies to come sometime next year). The four song EP is the result of the collaboration between ZBB and musical mastermind Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters).
"Dave is a musical genius," Zac Brown has said. "It's been amazing to play with him on stage and get to spend time working with him in the studio. We are excited for fans to hear the music we've been able to create together."
The music they created is something uniquely ZBB. Sonically, there is no doubt that is a Zac Brown Band record, but one with an edge. There are glorious harmonies, killer musicianship and meaningful lyrics. However, each song definitely has a “left turn moment,” or two, when something unexpected appears.
The first song “All Right” is a bluesy country slow jam about a love now gone. “There’s no good reason why I can’t move on/I lay my heart on these tracks your train comes along/It was all alright now its all all wrong/That’s just life/It goes when your gone.” The song takes you into a distorted biting electric guitar solo that fitting follows the lyrics “The storm is gonna come/Gonna wash you away like Sodom and Gomorrah.”
“Let It Rain” opens with a trifecta of guitars, drums and harmonies. Then, at about 2:46 you take that turn with harder edged rocking drums and a Celtic sounding fiddle. The grand “ah ah ah” harmonies seem to echo the lyrics “Breathe in deep let it out/Wash the bitterness out of your mouth/There’s no room left for darkness/When you’re filled with the light.” Let the music set you free indeed.
“The Muse” was written by The Wood Brothers, who are now signed Southern Ground Artists. The song offers three settings: a bedroom, a bar and a hospital room all related by being times, either good or bad, when “thinkins’ the last thing that you wanna do.” Sweeping harmonies and a terrific tune, but probably the least adventurous of the set.
The final song, and most adventurous, is the first studio recording of "Day for the Dead," the song which ZBB performed with Grohl on this year's CMAs. At 4:47, the song has everything you would expect in a ZBB offering and then some. There are definitely a few left turns in this one, but somehow it works. You have fiddle, percussion, electric guitar and beat box harmonizing. Then it seriously (we are talking head banging here) rocks out…hard, til it swings back round again and ends with hymn-like vocals.
This new release marks Zac Brown Band's first collection of songs recorded at the Southern Ground Studios in Nashville. In addition to the traditional Zac Brown Band lineup of Zac Brown, John Driskell Hopkins, Jimmy De Martini, Coy Bowles, Chris Fryar, Clay Cook and Daniel de los Reyes, the recordings also feature guest performances by Oteill Burbridge on bass and Grohl on drums.
If you are a fan of good music, you will definitely appreciate this EP and anxiously await Vol 2.