ADD: Beautiful Drug – Zac Brown Band (Southern Ground)

Disco never dies. I was up at the Flamigo Cantina on Sixth Street in Austin last Wednesday night for the monthly groove fest and got into a conversation with a guy in his mid-30s about music and he mentioned how much he disliked Disco. Huh? I thought that meme had faded into obscurity. Of course, I don’t get out much to know. So I mentioned a monster Disco hit from the past. Oh, he loves that one. Another one. His wife loves that one. And so it went. Thing is, remove the label and everybody loves a good dab of Disco because it’s just dance music and that never, ever goes out of style.

Now, I’d never have supposed that drum machines and thumpin’ beats like this would’ve invaded Country music. This format has always been built on a foundation of 35+ aged listeners. Lots of younger listeners from time to time, yes, but our bread’n’butter and meat’n’taters has been grownups with debts and kids and paunches and muscle aches and knees that are giving them trouble and who just can’t dance to a beat this damned fast.

Back in 1991, just as the Hot Country movement was sweeping across the scene, there was a station in Houston, KKBQ that switched from CHR to “Easy Country”. A monumental bust, it was. With the explosion of Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Brooks & Dunn, Shania Twain and all, who the heck would think that a “light n’ easy” presentation would fly? That’d be like going Light Rock in ’70. There was no demand, need or desire for it. Now, that was all fortunate for me because the next year, ’92, I got hired to join the save-our-ass team, we re-tooled the station with maximum boogie and a CHR presentation and what was then the most aggressively high rotations for our Currents in Country radio. An immediate turn-around, KKBQ became a ratings winner, an award winner and one of the top-billing Country stations in the nation. I say all that to say this: Maybe now’s the time for an Easy Country format. One that leaves out about 70% of the Bro-Country, drink til you puke and hard-rock guitar riffs.

Ok, back to Zac. I like this record a lot. The only thing that makes it Country is: Zac has had plenty Country hits before this and he’s a fan favorite. Add the fact that is SOUNDS like a pop culture hit single and I think we got a winner here.