Zac Brown Band won Best Country Album at the 55th Grammy Awards Sunday night for 'Uncaged.' The Georgia-based band is one of the hottest around, with sold out shows and die-hard fans.
The band grew its fan base in metro Atlanta, playing spots like Dixie Tavern, the Tabernacle and Variety Playhouse. With three Grammy wins, the award-winning band said they are humbled to be in such great company.
The band stays grounded in their Southern roots.
"This is where we're from, whether it's going to a Georgia Bulldawgs game or going to a Falcons game. Our family's here, this is our centering," Zac Brown said.
The early years started with Zac Brown and Jimmy De Martini. Bassist John Driscoll Hopkins joined next.
"In '98 I met Zac over at CJ's Landing in Buckhead, which is no longer there, and it was an open mic night I was running. He came in, he was 20 and couldn't have a beer," Hopkins said.
That night a friendship formed. Hopkins went on to help produce Brown's 'Home Grown' album. Years later when Brown needed a bassist, he knew just where to turn.
"In 2005 I joined the band and within a year we named it. You know, this needs to be like Dave Matthews Band. Like Zac Brown Band, cause we're a unit, but you need your name in there because you're the dude," Hopkins said.
Hopkins said, like many bands, they hit the road and started starving.
"It's kind of like is it going to happen, is it going to happen and it happened more than we could ever imagined," Hopkins said.
The band hit it big in 2008 with the release of Chicken Fried off their 'Foundation' album. That same year, Zac Brown Band won their first Grammy for Best New Artist.
They repeated the following year when the band won Best Country Collaboration for As She's Walking Away with Alan Jackson.
"Being in the Zac Brown Band makes you fearless in ways that I didn't experience fear as a younger person. It makes you go for it no matter what the consequence," Hopkins said.
And go for it they did with the release of 'Uncaged' last year. The album is a blend of country, bluegrass, rock and R&B. The band humbly acknowledges their dreams wouldn't be possible without the people who follow their music.
"To all of our fans for giving us our job, we love what we do and we dedicate our lives to making the best music and shows that we can. Thank you," Brown said.
Brown said it is the ultimate compliment to be nominated for a Grammy, and to win. It's because the award comes from their peers.
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