By Radio.com Staff
As frontman Zac Brown told Rolling Stone earlier this year, the album will have “a little bit of everything.” The only elaboration that he offered was that it would include “things that people will expect and things they don’t.”
It’s a statement that has kept fans guessing, but Brown then followed through on the promise of that message with the release of the album’s first two singles. “Homegrown” was sent to country radio, and “Heavy Is the Head” was aimed at rock.
Already now one of those songs, “Homegrown,” has reached No. 1 on the country singles charts. It’s the band’s 11th chart-topping song to date, and the fastest single of their career to reach that lofty height.
As a thanks to the fans who supported the new song, earlier this month the band launched a “Homegrown Fan Video” project, asking fans to submit video clips of their hometown via Instagram and the hashtag #ZBBHomegrown. The submissions were then edited into a single music video, and the result is a fun, lively display of all the people, places, cars, animals, objects and more that make up America today.
But “Homegrown” represents just one side of the “little bit of everything” Brown has promised on Jekyll + Hyde. The band is also showing some love to their more rock-oriented fans with “Heavy Is the Head.” Featuring Soundgarden‘s Chris Cornell, the song is no lightweight, and it features an unrelenting electric-guitar fuzz that is arguably heavier than many of the songs on today’s rock radio.
“We took more time writing and recording this record than we ever have in the past. We allowed each song to be what it wanted and needed to be. Each song has its own unique identity,” Brown said.
A track that shows yet another musical direction for the group is “Dress Blues,” the Zac Brown Band’s take on a song written by acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter Jason Isbell.
“Dress Blues” is a poignant piece of storytelling about a man headed off to war before his child is born. “You never planned all the bombs in the sand or sleeping in your dress blues,” Brown sings at the end of the song, as the listener realizes the man’s return was not exactly a happy one.
The album also features guest vocalist Sara Bareilles on the track “Mango Tree.”
Jekyll + Hyde was produced by Jay Joyce, an acclaimed Nashville producer whose recent work includes Little Big Town’s Pain Killer and Eric Church’s The Outsiders. It’s the Zac Brown Band’s first time working with Joyce. The album also marks the first release on the band’s new label—or, actually, labels, as the credit goes to Southern Ground/John Varvatos Records/Big Machine Label Group/Republic Records.
Jekyll + Hyde Tracklist:
Loving You Easy
Mango Tree (feat. Sara Bareilles)
Heavy Is the Head (feat. Chris Cornell)
Tomorrow Never Comes
Young and Wild
I’ll Be Your Man (Song for a Daughter)
Tomorrow Never Comes (Acoustic Version)
Jekyll + Hyde is available on iTunes and follows Zac Brown Band’s 2013 release The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1.