Zac Brown Band’s brand of country escapism may not have been more on display than it was five years ago, on December 9, 2009. It was then that the do-it-all Brown teamed up with one of his heroes, the president of musical daydreaming, Jimmy Buffett, for CMT’s Crossroads. The result was every bit as whimsical and accomplished as one would expect.
Somewhat of music kindreds, Brown and Buffett breezed through their favorites — “Knee Deep,” “Chicken Fried,” “Margaritaville” and “A Pirate Looks at 40” — but it was really their rendition of the country band’s hit, “Toes” that proved to be the most engaging moment of the night.
As expected, the two singers traded verses back and forth as Zac Brown Band and Buffett’s Corral Reefer Band gave the song even more of an island-feel than usual, a credit to Buffett’s grasp on musical departure. The Brown/Buffett pairing for the song was actually so perfect that, even though it’s Brown’s song, one almost got the feel that Buffett was more at home with the carefree vibe of the chart topper.
The duo’s propensity to ad-lib and comment during the song made it feel almost conversational; there was Buffett joking about medical marijuana (much to the delight of the likely pro-legalization crowd), along with Brown giving a product placement nod to Buffett’s Landshark Beer without missing a beat… and still in tune! And, just for the record, Buffett played the song barefoot. It doesn’t really get much more “island” than that. If a travel company just happened to be selling Caribbean getaways outside the door of The Factory in Franklin, Tennessee on that evening five years ago, they could have set an all-time sales record simply based off of that rendition of “Toes.”