Single Review: Zac Brown Band - Sweet Annie

With a string of successful hits, Zac Brown Band has continued to do things their own way. With their own tours, their own merchandising and more. With "Sweet Annie," the band returns with another mid-tempo grove number. How good of a song is it?

For the past five years, the Zac Brown Band has been, in my opinion, a ray of hope in the genre. Especially in 2013, where the supposed dumbing-down of Country music has sparked derision the likes of which I've never seen before, the fact that the ZBB is still getting airplay is a pleasant surprise to me. And even better, they still manage to surprise me with nearly every successive song. Case in point: "Sweet Annie." 

Zac and Wyatt Durette join with fellow Southern Ground artist Sonia Leigh (who also helped out on the stellar "Goodbye in Her Eyes") and John Pierce (who also had a terrific song on RCA in 2006 with "I'd Still Have You," but was dropped almost as soon as he was signed) to create a familiar but enjoyable story. The road is wearing the narrator down, so he pleads with his lover to stay with her a while. When he sings "This road's been putting miles on my heart, sweetheart / I've been living in a fantasy…", the longing in Zac's voice is undeniable. Even lines that look pedestrian on paper like "Come a little closer so I can show you / That my heart still beats fast for you / All over and over again" are knocked out of the park. The instrumental interplay is as strong as ever, with Hammond organ, fiddle, and even some resonator guitar for extra flavor. And of course, there's absolutely no denying those impeccable four-part harmonies, especially when the title line is drawn out at the end.

"Sweet Annie" is yet another reflection of ZBB's impeccable artistry, and the fact that radio keeps making room on its playlists for such a "left field" act is encouraging to me. It's clear that peoplewant this kind of music — music that has soul, energy, and creativity to it, but is still relatable and down-to-earth. (In other words, some of the very definitions of country music.) So please, Zac Brown Band, can you stay with us a lot longer than a while?