Sound — 8
Zac Brown Band are one of the more successful southern rock groups of this current generation. The predominantly Country act have been around for little more than a decade, and yet they have produced a staggering nine Number One singles, which includes such recent hits as "Toes" and "Goodbye in Her Eyes." Most recently the band become somewhat more relevant to the metal music community, as Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana not only stepped in on drums to debut the band's new song "Day of the Dead" live on the CMA Awards, but also as the producer of their new EP, appropriately titled "The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1." The addition of Dave Grohl into the mix proves to be both a substantial and worthwhile one, but who honestly expected anything different? Throughout the four new recordings which make up this new Zac Brown Band effort, one thing established Grohl fans can naturally expect is enhanced percussion playing. The drums are not exactly the highlight of each song nor are they the main attraction, but they're high enough in the mix to provide a racing rhythm to each track, and loud enough for one to recognize the man behind the skins. The addition of Dave Grohl adds depth to the traditional Zac Brown Band sound, with his solid percussion work serving as the backdrop to the group's highlighted vocal melodies and acoustic guitar playing. Other than the drum work, "The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1" is much different as opposed to Zac Brown Band's earlier efforts. There is a more significant rock sound present on these new recordings, and not as much emphasis on the broad country overtones which coated their earlier studio outings. This is especially true on such songs as the previously mentioned "Day of the Dead" and "Let It Rain," which are driven by strong bass lines, thunderous percussion work, proud vocal harmonies and the occasional addition of orchestral elements. Most importantly this change in sound doesn't come across as forced, but instead follows comfortably while containing just enough elements of their earlier style to keep things sounding familiar for the Zac Brown Band fanbase. This is then paired alongside some previously foreign hard rock influences which Grohl naturally brings to both the mix and the overall album sound to appeal to hard rock followers as well.
Lyrics — 7
One of the consistent factors within the Zac Brown Band sound are the group's vocal harmonies and country flavored lyrical execution of lead vocalist Zac Brown. Although I must say that the heavy southern twang influence within Brown's delivery has lessened, with more emphasis and focus delivered towards the actual melodies.
Overall Impression — 8
Zac Brown Band execute a broad change in their signature sound on "The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1." Most of the credit towards this same change can effortlessly be attributed to the new addition of Dave Grohl as both producer and drummer, but even more importantly is that the group manage to pull off this change very well; so well that I would like to hear more music from the Zac Brown Band in this same style, and considering that this is specifically "Vol. 1" of the Dave Grohl Sessions, perhaps there is more to come in the near future. Let's keep our fingers crossed.