Mary Peeples Mary Peeples | June 22, 2022 | People Feature Entertainment
After an amazing show at Truist Park in June, check out Zac Brown Band’s other tour stops at zacbrownband.com. Photo by Tyler Lord
Zac Brown Band is going live again, and in a big way. Zac Brown talks about what inspired the anticipated album and tour, what it means to be a Georgian and the initiatives he took during COVID-19.
Photo by Tyler Lord
“The result of that is a simplification of life"
Change is no foreign concept to Zac Brown, and yet, “everything’s changed,” says the Georgia native. Ironically, change has been a foundation for the country music band’s timelessness, and Brown dug into that mentality during COVID-19. From a new tour, appropriately named The Comeback Tour, and revisiting initiatives in his business ventures, including Camp Southern Ground, Brown is the man with a plan.
The “Homegrown” singer found opportunity in a world tilted on a new axis. “Everything through the pandemic, to having that time off, figuring out how to survive through those things. After we figure those things out, we have time to reflect on everything that has happened,” says Brown. Figuring things out? No problem. The octet’s new album, The Comeback, released in October 2021, is a vibrant result of a yearlong break from touring. “The result of that is a simplification of life,” Brown reflects. “This year’s tour is gonna be a really special one for us. I’ve had a vision to do what we’re doing for a long time, and now, I’m in the head space to be able to pull it off.” Joined by Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Zac Brown Band performed at Truist Park June 17 as one of more than 30 stops on the tour (VIP from $300, zacbrownband.com). From visual content to new voices onstage, “the way that we use our lights and the video, then being able to bring out an opening band that we’re all real fans of and unite with their band for the second half of the show, is something that I’ve always wanted to do,” says Brown. “I want a mindblowing show, and I’ve had the time to help craft that.” The loyal fan base should expect to be wowed.
Aside from being the frontman of the talented group of musicians, Brown has always been proud of his Southern roots, staying connected to the growing and diverse city of Atlanta. From the way he views the world to the musical influences that contributed to his career, Southern culture follows him wherever he finds himself. “I definitely think I’m a big product of Georgia,” says Brown, “[with] the freedom and the courage to be an individual and not be a part of a machine. The culture that’s in the South here and hospitality, the way you treat people, the chivalry of being able to grow up in the culture that’s here. From cooking and canning with my grandparents outdoors to being a woodsman starting when I was really young, there are so many things in the culture of Georgia that have helped to cultivate who I am. Georgia will always be home.”
Zac Brown Band members, from left: Daniel de los Reyes, Coy Bowles, Matt Mangano, Zac Brown, Jimmy De Martini, Chris Fryar, John Driskell Hopkins and Clay Cook. Photo by Danny Clinch
For the place he considers home, Brown’s philanthropic efforts reevaluate the future of Camp Southern Ground (campsouthernground.org). Camp Southern Ground is a camp for neurotypical children, children with neurodevelopmental differences, underserved kids and kids from military families in the summer. In the off-season, Camp Southern Ground supports post-9/11 veterans in the transition to civilian life aft er military service and aims to facilitate posttraumatic growth among combat veterans. Brown’s desire to develop this camp stems from his own time at camp growing up and a vision for its accessibility. When designing programming for veterans, Brown says, “we’ve been doing songwriting with a lot of the vets that come, and they get to tell their stories. You know, a lot of them feel closed off from civilians and talking about their experiences.” Although Brown is a risk-taker in his music and business roles, those risks are sure to have a positive impact on every person he touches. “To be part of a solution that brings people together who are nice people and love each other, it’s a human condition that we all go through, that we’re basically the same in so many ways,” says Brown. “That’s the power in it, and that’s why we fight for it and do what we do.”