After dabbling with pop and EDM on their last record, 2015’s Jekyll + Hyde, Zac Brown Band have been getting back to basics – and their core country sound – in 2017 with their LP Welcome Home. Their latest single, “Roots,” is an ode the Georgia group’s decade and a half of gigging, and the song’s new music video pays tribute to the live performances that built their loyal following.
Filmed near the band’s hometown of Atlanta at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park in Alpharetta, Georgia, at the beginning of their Welcome Home Tour, “Roots” starts off with the din of the crowd as Zac Brown gives an introduction. “This is in memory of every dive bar that I’ve played in this town, every dive bar all the way around the Southeast, everybody that came out to see me play at the Dixie Tavern back in the day,” Brown says. “This one’s for you, baby.”
Brown’s roots performing at places like Dixie Tavern, which gets name checked in the lyrics, go back even further than Zac Brown Band itself, back to the Nineties when he performed as a solo singer-songwriter. The video drops in some images of the band’s early days when they were first making a name for themselves on the jam band circuit, playing small bars and clubs well removed from the massive stadium and arena productions like the one in the video (which even includes a nod to the military). “Don’t give up, hold on a little longer,” goes the refrain during “Roots'” coda. “What don’t kill you only makes you stronger.”
It’s a message, and an album, that seems to have resonated with Brown’s fans, as Welcome Home went to Number Two on the Billboard 200 and Number One on the country charts – the group’s fourth consecutive album to top the country charts. Zac Brown Band are still on the road for the Welcome Home Tour, playing Stambaugh Stadium in Youngstown, Ohio tonight.