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Zac Brown Band

Compared to airbrushed, frosted-bang pretty boys like Rascal Flatts, Atlanta's Zac Brown Band looks like they came straight to Nashville from a bare-knuckled dust-up with the Kentucky Headhunters. However, the strand of Southern rock Brown and cohorts are steeped in most is the free-form Widespread Panic variety; their high harmonies and pickin' skills also make them probably the most bluegrass-­sounding act to make serious Music City inroads since either Alison Krauss or maybe even Ricky Skaggs. After several years of doing it the grass-roots way, the ZBB is starting to draw serious industry attention — breakthrough (and still breaking) single "Chicken Fried" has been downloaded more than one million times, and next month they'll open several Midwestern dates for Keith Urban. They're good ol' boys, though, albeit modern ones — current single "Whatever It Is" sounds like second-generation Alabama, and the band is as likely to cover Pearl Jam's "Black" live as "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

 
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