By Nick Russo

Zac Brown ventured out on a new project with hit maker-producers Timbaland and Pharrell called “Sir Rosevelt” and it’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard from ZBB. It was clear and evident in ZBB’s last album “Jekyll & Hyde” that he was on to something different, a road less travelled, if you will. He had a #1 rock song with “Heavy on The Head” featuring Chris Cornell and even had an EDM flavored country song called “Beautiful Drug” which was produced by Avicii.

Zac Brown or Sir Rosevelt has never been afraid to expand his artistry and this new album proves it more than ever. The vibe was almost Bruno Mars-esque but it had Zac’s signature of honesty. From the get, “Sunday’s Finest” sets the mood of this instrument and bass heavy jingling track that gets you feeling frisky. You can hear that this album is about to take you on a journey to musical paradise.

The second track starts off with a quiet rhythm that reminds me of sounds we heard on Sam Hunt’s Montevallo album but then the pace kicks off and “Something Bout You” becomes everything you’ve wanted in a song. The infectious hook makes you think you’ve heard the song a million times before.

Creativity and darkness emerges out of the third track of this 37 minute masterpiece in “The Bravest.” The song speaks to the risks that Zac Brown Band has taken in his career that we call relate to on our struggle up the mountain of personal success. It’s an anthem to the hard working creative mind who believes in the power of the self.

Immediately following the inspiring third track, the horns with a Spanish flare that we’ve come to hear from ZBB’s songs like “Toes” grabs you by the ear drums and takes you into a fleeting but energizing tune in “Nothing’s Going To Stop Us.” In this track we get a glimpse of the freedom that Sir Rosevelt, Tim and Pharrell were feeling during the production of this album.

Into the fourth piece of this eleven chaptered story is “Hurricane” is THE love song. There’s an early 90’s R&B vibe that the listener will find familiar as it boasts a similarity to En Vogue’s “Don’t Let Go.” The song is an emotional journey into heartache caused by indecision, bad decisions and fate.

Up next, you hear, maybe, the most raw part of the album in “For My Own” where Sir Rosevelt gives a glimpse into the journey that started as a dream and ended up more than he could have ever imagined. It’s another inspiring and uplifting tune that reeks of advice you’ve been needing to hear but you somehow already knew.

It’s not until “Robert Baker” do you realize exactly where you’ve been taken on this musical journey. Sir Rosevelt is taking his listeners to a place they maybe have never been: deep into electronic dance music. Songs like this one are the reason for the name change. Zac has escaped his former parameters and entered a world of artistry that stretches beyond definition.

If the listener is shocked by the evolution of a country artists’ work then “Take Your Love Away” addresses that shock. Artistry comes in different forms and different sounds and Sir Roosevelt captures that abstractness in the third from last track.

With just two songs on this seemingly time-lapsed listening experience you’re hit with the antithesis of that feeling, “Slow Motion.” Sir Rosevelt gets grown & sexy with this one as his soul has been bare over the first 8 songs. Now, with the covers pulled back the artist gets back to the Spanish guitar sounds and the tantalizing rhythms most are accustomed to hearing.

The 10th track is “Let Me Go” and it becomes the testimony to letting go of control. The song is a double entendre on love and music. In every person’s work you’ll find truth and the listener can hear Zac Brown’s honest love for creating genreless art come through, pleading, asking to let go of the label and allow music to flourish without restraint.

Finally, “Infinite & Endless” emerges as the bookend to a library of thought and creation like we’ve never heard. The possibilities of life are truly endless and Sir Rosevelt attacks this concept with reckless abandon. The message is clear that the only limits we set on life and love are ones we set ourselves.

If you’re open to a combination of sounds that rival your lifelong idea of genre then Sir Rosevelt needs to be listened to, straight through. It’s a masterpiece, in this listener’s opinion. While it was released with less than 3 weeks left of 2017 it won’t be surprising when it ends up one of the highest performing albums of 2018.

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