Before I discuss their new album, I’d like to take a moment to talk about their masterpiece Uncaged, which is one of my favorite albums of all time.
Release Date: 2012
Style: grounded in country, but really with a little bit of everything, from reggae to country rock to bluegrass to R&B
Who Might Like This Album: really anyone, because there’s really something for everyone here…so, fans of good music
Standout Tracks: “Goodbye in Her Eyes,” “Sweet Annie,” “Overnight,” “Natural disaster,” “The Wind,” “Island Song,” “Lance’s Song”
Reflections: I just listed tracks 3 through 9 on this album, and yeah, it’s pretty much amazing song after amazing song right through that entire stretch. But really there’s not a bad song here, and if I were reviewing this today, I’d have to give it a ten. You can say what you want about this band and their genre bending, but it works fine on “Island Song” which is all but reggae country–by now I think ZBB have recorded enough songs to start this subgenre–and it works to absolute perfection on “Overnight,” which is a straight-up R&B seduction song. I think their last album took this too far in places, and it was certainly a jarring listen, but the length and the fluffy love songs always bothered me more than the exploration of other genres by this band. They needed a song on that record like “Colder Weather” or like “Sweet Annie,” the amazing standout love song from this album, certainly country and featuring lots of fiddle and the great harmony the band is known for. I can’t say enough about this album, and I don’t know if they’re ever going to top it, but the day they do will be incredible because this record is fantastic, and if they can manage to produce a better one, we should all be lining up to buy it. If somehow you have never sat down and listened to Uncaged, in its entirety and all its glory, please do it now. This is one of the best country records to have graced our presence in the past ten years, and maybe the best one out of the mainstream in that time frame. And by the way, when they say, “country should evolve,” this is the type of stuff they should mean–because this is how you stay grounded in country while delivering something fresh and unique and lasting.