Zac Brown Band: Legendary Musicians & Foodies!

Zac Brown Band

Have you ever had an 'oh-my-God, who have I become' moment followed just as quickly by an 'I wouldn't change my life for second' moment? As Walt and our buddy Matt bolted out the door the other night headed to an Allman Brothers concert, I jumped up to intercept them in the kitchen: "Guys, do y'all have some snacks packed? Do you need me to make something really quick? You're going to be boozing and there won't to be any decent food!" As I quickly loaded up a Tupperware filled with pulled pork wraps and chicken salad sandwiches, I couldn't help but acknowledge the difference ten years can make in a girl's life. 

I spent my formative teen years chasing Southern jam bands across the country (a perk of being a pilot's daughter) and eagerly awaited new tour dates to be announced with each upcoming season. I don't regret any of those crazy years, although there are probably a few unflattering photos lurking around I hope never surface. Thankfully, my idea of a good time no longer means sleeping in a stranger's bathtub, and a balanced dinner no longer consists of Jäger shots and a $1 grilled cheese. But you might imagine how I felt, though, when I found myself packing a freakin' picnic basket while my fiancé headed off to a show: to say I questioned my new reality is an understatement. (Even my mother, queen of hospitality, never made me a pre-concert snack pack, and I would have looked at her like she was crazy if she did!)

As I piddled around the house waiting for the guys to return, I suddenly fell deep into an existential crisis. Even though I was merely days into my thirties, my future as perky planner/OCD housewife was now staring me in the face. (And wait, what's that in the mirror I see? Did those wrinkles appear overnight?!) What was becoming of me, I wondered... Good things, as it turns out. Walt slipped quietly into bed later that night and gave my hand a squeeze. He whispered, "Man, who knew all that food you packed would be such good idea. If we hadn't had it we might not have made it out of there alive!" I closed my eyes and rolled over but this time with a smile. Turns out those sandwiches weren't a glimpse into my future as "high-strung wife," but just a sign that I am wiser now than I ever was. And thank God for that!

But just because my days of noodling barefoot in a fairy crown are behind me doesn't mean I don't kick back and enjoy a rowdy show every now and then. This time around though, it's gotta prove to be more than just a never-ending drum & bass solo. These days I need good food, better company, and maybe even some "yard games" to make a concert worth my while. Perhaps I am asking too much? Well if you ask Zac Brown (yes, the country music extraordinaire of Zac Brown Band fame), I'm not. Seems he already has my bases covered and then some!

I started listening to Zac Brown Band {ZZB} way back when I was a single girl living in Los Angeles. I had never really been a country music fan (besides the likes of Garth, Hank, Willie, Johnny, and June) but there was something about ZBB's spot-on Southern anthems that made me long for home like never before. In a city known for salads and supermodels, the mere idea of fried chicken and PBR had never tasted so good. I immediately knew this guy was different than the rest. But it wasn't until I returned South — with my very own Georgia boy, no less — that I began following ZBB's behind-the-scene endeavors. My interest was piqued when I discovered his campfire chili in food magazine and then got hold of his cookbook Southern Ground.

As ZBB's star rose, it was the buzz about their famous 'Eat & Greets' that really won my always-hungry heart. I mean, it's not very often you hear about a world-renowned band creating an environment in which they willingly hang out with their fans. I can honestly say that in all my years chasing after the elusive "backstage pass" hoping for a chance encounter with adolescent idols, I sure have never seen the musicians encouraging the mixing and mingling. (Well, except for a few pretty young things.)

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ZBB 'Eat & Greets' are an opportunity for their biggest fans to not only shake hands with the band, but to dine with them as well. Prior to every performance, up to 200 lucky folks get to enjoy a farm-to-table meal inspired by seasonal produce available in each city. At the helm of these feasts is Chef Rusty Hamlin, who operates out of a state-of-the-art mobile kitchen lovingly referred to as "cookie." Every menu is designed to showcase the very best Southern dishes using the very best local ingredients, all washed down compliments of another Southern staple, Jack Daniel's.

Luckily for anyone who missed out on ZBB's summer tour like I did, they are bouncing around the country this fall, including headlining appearances at the Southern Ground Music & Food Festivals held in Nashville and Charleston. The festival, a brainchild of Brown and Hamlin, brings together big-name acts with big-name chefs for the ultimate sensory (and savory) experience. I'm hoping to hit them up in Georgia, and I hope to see you there! (I'll bring the snacks if you bring the beer!) You can check out tour dates and purchase tickets here.

For some truly incredible ZZB foodie factoids, check out this totally awesome infographic sent to me by Amy at Vivid Seats, a Dixie Caviar friend and fan. Pretty freakin' awesome, huh?! And for more ZZB info, get their bio here and fun facts here.

Zac Brown Band: Legendary Musicians and Foodies
Please advise: this is not a sponsored post. I just really dig what the Zac Brown Band does.