Zac Brown Band graced the Ozarks last Thursday with a beautiful night of country music. Over the last decade, ZBB has dipped into a variety of genres with their storytelling and continue to spread the joy of their grand jubilee. The Atlanta natives have hit the road in support of their album Welcome Home released earlier this year. The weather was absolutely perfect for the night at the Walmart Amp, and fans were ecstatic as they filled the venue.
Singer/songwriter Caroline Jones started the evening with a Joan Baez’ cover of “Old Blue.” Standing solo with her banjo, she effortlessly plucks away as her angelic voice blew the crowd away. The full band emerges to the stage for the performance of country-pop track “Rise.” Jones was all smiles as she sang “The Difference,” and the crowd even cracked smiles as she broke her innocent image with a cutesy “gosh damn” throughout the upbeat song. “Bare Feet” is more of a country-rock track with a great drum flow, and Jones was full of confidence as she rocked her glittery baby blue guitar. The song matched her inspiring, bubbly personality, and it was evident she was thankful to be on stage. The singer-songwriter introduced the next track with, “We live in a world where everyone has an idea of who we should be… This song is to say if you don’t like the way I am, that’s too freakin’ bad.” Powerful clap tune “Tough Guys” had the crowd hyped, and Jones’ sass left the crowd wanting more. Caroline Jones’ many talents are on display with her new EP Bare Feet and is available for all ears here.
With hardly any introduction, Darrell Scott surprised the audience as he took the stage. He began with “Angel’s Blue Eyes”, and the deep guitar tones were breathtaking. Scott announced, “I’ve got an Arkansas song for you” and the crowd wildly cheered as he performed “No Love In Arkansas.” A dedication was made to the late Don Williams and a few others as Scott said that “we’ve lost too many good ones lately.” Although unsure of what cover he performed, the cold blue lights and hazy smoke set the mood for the passion filled cover. A fan favorite was “Down to the River” as Scott belted out against the battle of tough bass and light fiddle. Zac Brown and the band joined the stage for “It All Comes Down To Love,” “There Ain’t No Easy Way,” and Dixie Chicks’ “Long Time Gone.” Scott dived into falsetto range, and the combination of Scott and Brown provided beautiful harmonization. The soulful duo did an excellent job of storytelling with the multi-layered country symphony behind them.
A brief pause took place as the stage was prepped for Zac Brown Band. The set started with “Homegrown” and “Toes,” and the crowd was loving every second. The band was all smiles as the crowd sang “Toes” back to them. The band branched out to the catwalk for a Kings of Leon cover of “Use Somebody,” blending country, pop, and rock for an intense performance. A personal favorite was the fiddle bridge build up. Members of the band rotates between playing and shaking hands with fans around the stage. “Family Table” and “Sweet Annie” grew as personal favorites while ambient artwork and band member reflections rotated across the elaborate stage screens. Brown followed up with “Thank you so much for giving us our job.” He informed the audience that all ticket proceeds are being donated to Camp Southern Ground, an organization that shelters as a haven for children with family members. “If you want to help on a mission, please come out,” Zac invited. The talented group of musicians proceeded with crowd favorite “Island Song.” The bongos set the beat while everyone swayed to the beach feel drifting in the wind. Ballads “As She’s Walking Away” and “Live Like Tomorrow Never Comes,” which featured opener Caroline Jones, moved the audience with the sentimental tracks.
A 6 minute intermission included a countdown on the screens while the audience grabbed snacks and beers. Once the countdown was complete, Zac Brown Band blasted back into motion with heavy and electrifying “Uncaged.” The night continued with a cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and original track “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” Fans enjoyed the fast paced track that felt like the band was on the hunt. A 18 year old Arkansas native girl (I feel terrible, but I didn’t catch the name) joined ZBB on stage for a beautiful rendition of “Colder Weather.” The band gathered on the stairs for love ballad “Start Over,” as Brown states, “I wrote this song for love. I’ll teach you the words as we go.” Drum sticks clicked and smoke filled the screens as the ballad made the crown swoon.
The rest of the show will remain a mystery (or, ya know, YouTube.) The drive home started early as a migraine was settling in. Nonetheless, the show was one to check off the list. It was amazing to see such a large group cohesively perform at a grand scale like Zac Brown Band did. The Welcome Home Tour continues throughout the U.S. throughout October. Tickets can be purchased here.