April 21, 2009 — The adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies to everything from plumbing to management to the music industry, but it's not exactly in the Zac Brown Band's vocabulary.
The group hit its commercial stride last year with its first No. 1 single, "Chicken Fried," which would suggest they had their act together. But instead of playing it safe, the band went into expansion mode early this year by bringing on a new member, Clay Cook, who's provided backing vocals, keyboard and steel guitar for the likes of John Mayer, Shawn Mullins and the Marshall Tucker Band.
No one left the ZBB. They just decided to make a place for Clay, and it turns out they'd been courting him for some time.
"He'd been playin' with Marshall Tucker for the last four or five years, singin' for them, helpin' to take the weight of singin' a nd playin' guitar for them," Zac says. "I'd been tryin' to get him in the band for three years, and you know, it's been a journey, but I always knew [he could make us better]. I'm a harmony fanatic. I love big harmonies and things, and we didn't have a high tenor, and Jimmy [De Martini], my fiddle player, sings a lot of the high stuff now, but havin' somebody that can actually sing on top of that, we've added a four-part harmony now that's searing, and the guy's a monster player, too."
Clay will have a hand in the next album, which is already being recorded. In the meantime, The Foundation, which features "Chicken Fried," was just certified gold.