Today’s surprise release of “Homegrown,” the jubilant new single by Zac Brown Band, marks the official start of a new chapter for the Grammy-winning group. (Listen to the track below.) It’s the first taste of their next album, tentatively due in spring, which Brown says will have “a little bit of everything.”
“There will be things that people will expect and things that they don’t,” he tells Rolling Stone Country — a promise already fulfilled with “Homegrown,” as its country-radio friendly melody and lyrics yield to an unconventional bridge that takes the song to a whole new sonic ballpark.
“Homegrown” was co-produced by Brown and Jay Joyce, the man behind the board for such blockbuster projects as Little Big Town’s Pain Killer and Eric Church’s The Outsiders. Joyce is one of dozens of new people on the extended ZBB team, as this upcoming LP will be the first project released by the lead singer’s own Southern Ground Artists in partnership with three other labels: Big Machine Label Group, John Varvatos Records and Republic Records. Working with a quartet of companies is arguably an unprecedented move by Brown, whose band ended its deal with Warner Music’s New York-based Atlantic Records last year and released the The Grohl Sessions, Volume 1 EP through the indie Southern Ground. Instead of staying the self-run course for ZBB’s next project, Brown joined a lot of cooks in one kitchen — but a kitchen in which he still maintains creative and administrative power, while collaborating to catapult his group from Nashville’s odd men out to global superstars.
“We’ve got an amazing team, an amazing amount of horsepower. It would have taken that for me to work with a major label group, and now I feel like I’m getting three of them in exchange for the licensing for this album,” says the singer-songwriter. “As we’ve been touring internationally and touring here [in the U.S.], we’re growing but not being jet-powered like I feel like we’re going to be able to do with the new team…. We’ve never had any corporate support from Nashville; we’ve always been looked at as outsiders. So being a part of a team there is going to help us.”