Zac Brown Band has been active since 2002 and has almost single-handedly put the country back in modern country music. But many Nashville country stars have their songs written for them by others, so does the Zac Brown Band write their own songs?
The Zac Brown Band writes many of their songs. But the majority are written by Zac Brown himself in conjunction with songwriter Wyatt Durrette. However, they have also collaborated with other songwriters, including Niko Moon, Ben Simonetti, and Cow Bowles.
But how much of that songwriting collaboration is driven by the band vs. from the label?
And does the band get a say in what songs they do? After all, with a lot of modern country music, the band aren’t even performing consistently on the records, much less actually crafting their songs.
Let us explore.
What songs has Zac Brown written by himself?
Zac Brown has only written 1 song all by himself that has been recorded by the Zac Brown Band. That song is “Martin”, which appears on their 2010 album, “You Get What You Give”. However, he co-writes almost all of the Zac Brown Band songs.
Writing your own songs is among the qualities that attract music listeners to artists.
This is because a song with a personal touch and biographical elements is more relatable to the audience on so many levels. In addition, an artist can tailor their tunes personally and attract increased attention from music labels to collaborate with them.
Many writers choose to write their music exclusively, which has proven advantages.
Your song alone gives you the freedom to experiment with it until you are satisfied, which is precisely what ZBB claims. They say they write 95% of their songs from personal experience.
The rest are stories of other people and their perspectives from different walks of life.
You know we like our ‘chicken fried’, cold beer on a Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right and ZAC BROWN BAND partying down with us on one of the best beaches in the world! JOIN US, August 19-22 in Wildwood, NJ! https://t.co/AsLmxMaFNB pic.twitter.com/a8nmvit95m
— Barefoot Country Music Fest (@barefootcmf) December 22, 2020
What song made Zac Brown famous (and who wrote it)?
The first song made famous by the Zac Brown Band was Chicken Fried from their debut album, The Foundation. It was written by Zac Brown and Wyatt Durrette, who is not in the band but co-writes many Zac Brown Band songs.
Zac Brown is currently enjoying the biggest success in country music. His first four albums are rated as certified platinum, racking up Grammy’s and breaking sales records.
The band’s songs are poignant, and they mix a range of genres to push their music’s limit. After all, while they are known as a country band, they work with a variety of artists from Alan Jackson to Jimmy Buffett to Amos Lee to the late Chris Cornell.
Aside from Chicken Fried, here are some of the other songs that made Zac Brown famous:
- Whatever It Is – from The Foundation
- Toes – from The Foundation
- As She’s Walking Away – from You, Get What You Give
- Highway 20 Ride – from The Foundation
- Cold Weather – from You Get What You Give
- Knee Deep – from You Get What You Give
- Goodbye In Her Eyes – from Uncaged
- Sweet Annie – from Uncaged
- Homegrown – from Jekyll+Hyde
This American country band from Georgia has proven its ability to switch to various music genres with excellent flow. They know how to impress their audience and have constantly been delivering music to suit every taste.
According to Sounds Like Nashville, the band has sold more than 8 million records and over 25 million singles since 2009. Their music continues to reach a broad audience and inspire others with heartfelt lyrics and stand-out musicianship.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) November 9, 2018
What is Zac Brown’s favorite song (and who wrote it)?
Zac Brown’s favorite song varies considerably but has consisted of either “I’ll Be Your Man (Song for a Daughter)” or “The Man Who Loves You the Most”, both of which are written from a father to a daughter, and Brown is the father to 4 daughters.
“I’ll Be Your Man” was written by Zac Brown in conjunction with Wyatt Durrette, Niko Moon, Darrell Scott, and ZBB members Coy Bowles and John Driskell Hopkins.
“The Man Who Loves You the Most” was written by Brown in conjunction with producer Ben Simonetti and Adam James, in conjunction with the entire Zac Brown Band.
But his long-time songwriting partner Wyatt Durrette favors “Highway 20 Ride”, which was based on his own divorce and having to drive across Georgia to visit his son.
The Zac Brown Band has released 7 full-length studio albums, 2 EPs, a Greatest Hits collection, and 2 live projects.
In addition, there is a catalog of soulful and joyful music which makes it hard to come to anyone’s favorite song. That is why I am mentioning here some of Zac Brown’s favorite songs, which have been part of Zac’s life as he experienced them.
He says life throws many different emotions at you, and music helps you remember the good times. It helps to get you through the bad times.
So, let us take a look at a few of Zac’s other favorite songs:
- Keep Me In Mind: The fourth single released in 2011 was written by Zac, Wyatt Durrette, and Nick Cowen. Billy Dukes of Taste of Country described the song as ‘fun’ and ‘funky’ and ZBB as “more jam band than straight-up country music”.
- My Old Man: Dedicated to Brown’s father, this is one of the recent emotional songs of the band. My Old Man”, written by Zac Brown in collaboration with Niko Moon and Ben Simonetti, talks about Brown’s father being the best supporter and how he changed his life. They released a music video showing the band members together with their father. It became the perfect lead to 2017’s Welcome Home album- Country Thang Daily.
- Someone I Used To Know: The song belongs to the band’s 6th studio album, The Owl, released in 2018. It results from Zac’s collaboration with songwriters Ben Simonetti, Nashville-based Niko Moon, Andrew Watt, Shawn Mendes in production with Andrew Watt and Happy Perez.
— Partnered Programming Group by Kenny Wall (@partneredprog) April 29, 2021
Does the Zac Brown Band use songwriters from Nashville?
Zac Brown Band collaborated with Nashville songwriter Niko Moon, who helped the band pen over 40 songs in the past ten years, including hits such as “Heavy is the Head”, “Beautiful Drug”, “Keep Me in Mind”, “Loving You Easy”, and “Homegrown”.
But unlike many country stars who have their songs handed to them by the label after being penned by Nashville’s finest, Zac Brown has a hand in writing virtually all of the band’s songs.
And the Zac Brown Band play on their albums too, unlike many Nashville country artists where it’s just a rotating cast of Nashville studio musicians on the albums.
Warner Music Nashville signed ZBB in April 2021 for a recording contract in partnership with the group’s label, Homegrown Music. The collaboration came together to forge a connection through amazing heartfelt music.
Zac Brown’s Nashville team included songwriter Niko Moon who briefly talked about the writing process behind the ZBB’s hit “Homegrown”.
Here is what Niko Moon said:
“We met each other when we were both playing the country club scene down in Georgia. We decided to try our hand at writing songs together, and we’ve been writing songs together for over ten years now.”
Niko also added:
It’s been an incredible, collaborative friendship writing songs for him and the Zac Brown Band.
Zac Brown Band just played a rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody that both Freddie Mercury and Garth Algar would appreciate. pic.twitter.com/L0XAAIC3pJ
— Keagen Edwards (@KeagenEdwards) April 7, 2018
Why does the Zac Brown Band play so many covers?
The Zac Brown Band plays many covers of other songs in concert to add diversity to their shows and pay tribute to some of their influences. But they also don’t consider themselves purely a country band. So, playing songs outside that genre allows them to express their creativity.
The Zac Brown Band is well known for their renditions of a diverse set of covers in the fan community, including classics such as:
- Metallica – Enter Sandman
- Guns’ N’ Roses – Patience
- Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody
- Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb
- Dave Matthews Band – Ants Marching
- Billy Joel – Piano Man
And, of course, they did a fantastic job with Ray LaMontagne’s “Jolene” on their debut album “The Foundation”.
The band covers a wide range of backgrounds and some advanced music techniques like autotune but to an acceptable degree.
Luckily, I made sure to cover that in my recent article to discuss how the band creates the thrilling experience in their albums using such techniques.
Just click that link to explore.
ZBB loves to dip their toes into other worlds, and they have successfully delivered historical live performances of all time.
Zac Brown Band is a premier band with chart-topping singles and albums.
It is among the hottest bands in the music business and is known for its authentic sound, despite Zac’s occasional use of autotune, resulting from its actual songwriting process.
In Zac Brown’s own words, the band writes most of their songs, but they have also collaborated with other songwriters from various cities, including Nashville, in the past years.
Looking at their success stories, it is evident that the band has more music to share with the world. And the audience is waiting for their next album eagerly.
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