Album Review

Zac Brown Band, 'You Get What You Give'

September 20, 2010

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It’s no secret the Zac Brown Band has enjoyed a swift ascent to notoriety. The group won the Grammy this year for best new artist, while also grabbing four nominations for Country Music Association awards and scoring five hits from its last studio album, “The Foundation.’’ Brown deserves plenty of credit as a philanthropist — buying land for a summer camp for disabled children — but there remain questions about his music. He has a great voice, but most songs on this follow-up release fall into the sugary commercial country column. The vocals suggest gushy acts like Diamond Rio and Alabama, while the lyrics are larded with platitudes. “I play the road and the highway is our song,’’ he croons on one track, then mines more clichés on the ballad “Quiet Your Mind,’’ with the line, “If you’re too busy talking, you’re not busy listening . . . enjoy the ride.’’ And the bluegrassy “Whiskey’s Gone’’ never quite conveys the desperation that it should. The highlights are the new single “As She’s Walking Away,’’ a fine duet with Alan Jackson, and the festive “Knee Deep,’’ a tropical-flavored ditty with Jimmy Buffett. But most of these songs are just too saccharine. (Out tomorrow) STEVE MORSE

ESSENTIAL “As She’s Walking Away’’