In mainstream country music, most artists are just trying to keep up with the popular sound. They really have no thoughts or heart behind their music. To take a line from the famous song, “Murder on Music Row,” it’s all done for “the almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame.” Now all of us have to make a living, but we like to take pride in our work. Most mainstream country artists don’t really convey this and their music sounds soulless as a result. But there are exceptions to the rule and the Zac Brown Band is definitely one of them. While their music can sound more like southern fried rock at times, one thing that is present in all of their songs is a sense of genuineness. These guys take pride in their music and care about the image they portray. You’ll never hear these guys using auto-tune and EDM in their music. As they’ve stated in numerous interviews, they’re proud to use real instruments in their songs.
When I found out they were releasing new music from their project with Dave Grohl, I was excited to hear what they came up with. For those that don’t know, Dave Grohl is the frontman and founder of the rock band The Foo Fighters. He was also part of a little band you might have heard of called Nirvana. Grohl has a brilliant mind for music and I was anxious to hear how his sound and Zac Brown Band’s sound would mesh together. If you’ve listened to The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1 EP, you can definitely hear the influence of Grohl. And it couldn’t be more present in the lead single on the extended play, “All Alright.”
Grohl starts the song off with a small guitar solo that sets the tone for the song. His guitar licks are fantastic. It then blends in with the rest of the band seamlessly as Brown begins to sing. The story of this song is quite simple. It’s about a guy being in what looked like a good relationship where everything was “all alright,” but then went “all wrong” and is now trying to move on from it. Brown’s voice is flawless as always and the background vocals accompany it nicely. The song is good until about halfway through, where it then goes about a few notches and becomes even better. Grohl busts into an over 30 second long guitar solo, that upon first time listening to it, will absolutely blow you away. I wasn’t that surprised something this good was coming from a musician of Grohl’s caliber. After the solo, the song goes softer and Brown reflects on the cold pillow by the empty night stand (great imagery). But then he sings, “I guess God did not make me a one woman man.” The song then goes louder again and repeats the chorus lines. Brown ends with the great line of, “That’s just how it goes when you’re gone.”
“All Alright” undeniably has a rock influence throughout it (even more than usual for Zac Brown Band). While a select few may not like this for some reason, I think many will appreciate the influence as it is different from other offerings from the band. This is actually a good way to evolve country music, unlike some artists who feel EDM and rapping are a better direction to take country. I honestly don’t understand why more artists don’t try to incorporate more rock influences in their songs if they’re looking for an “evolved sound.” The instruments are implemented well in the song and Grohl is Grohl on the guitar. Lyrically, the song is simple and written well. It’s almost too simple, but Brown finds the perfect balance. The pacing was spot on and did a good job of creating the imagery of the song.
This song will get radio time because Zac Brown Band has a large and dedicated fan base that will tune in to listen. It probably won’t chart too high, as it has only peaked at #44 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot Country Songs chart. It’s hard for the song to cut through the throng of bro country songs infecting the charts (and radio waves).
“All Alright” is one of the best mainstream country songs of 2014 and I’ve already bought it and listened to it several times over. It’s one of the few bright spots on country music radio at the moment. I’m hoping this is just the first great song we hear from the Grohl collaboration and that there are more released later this year.