Zac Brown Band
Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids
Nov. 8, 7 p.m.
$69.50, $59.50 & $45
vanandelarena.com, (616) 742-6600
Zac Brown Band is still full of love, peace and chicken grease, but the band’s new tour crosses genre boundaries and pushes limits of musicianship. Zac Brown Band’s latest album, Uncaged, combines its trademark vocals with spine-tingling instrumentals in a compilation of tracks that boldly stray away from traditional country twang.
Of course, when the band comes to Grand Rapids, fans can expect to hear hits like “Chicken Fried” and “Toes,” but they will also hear the band transition between genres in new songs. “Jump Right In” has a Caribbean rhythm and “Overnight” mixes in R&B.
In September, the band added world-renowned percussionist Daniel de los Reyes to its lineup. De los Reyes’ talent earned him gigs performing alongside Sting, Stevie Nicks and Chicago to name a few. His experience and fresh take on the band’s music solidified the album’s variation by adding the expertise ZBB needed to enhance the rhythm and structure of the tracks.
In the past, de los Reyes’ talent was used to enhance big-name artists’ live performances, but for the first time, his influence went into an album before it hit the stores.
“I grew up listening to Serpentine Fire and Peter France, [and] I always wondered about the creation part of it,” de los Reyes said. “I wished to be a part of something like that. The coolest thing about [joining ZBB] is that now I'm being a part of something like that. It's awesome."
Whether it’s de los Reyes’ contributions or the loyal fan base, music listeners seem to like what they hear, as Uncaged debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 list after its release this summer.
Since joining, de los Reyes has completely committed himself to Uncaged. When he’s not performing, he’s listening to the album on his iPod, trying to find ways to make it even better in concert.
“I like to come up with different things for it for when we perform live,” de los Reyes said. “I listen to it so much that it becomes ingrained, and it begins to become second nature, and then I come up with stuff.”
Photo: Cole Cassell