photo courtesy of SOUTHERN REEL

-images-uploads-gallery-ZacBrown-Toronto-Credit-Southern_ReelAs a journalist, asking strangers questions is the job du jour. However, the occasional interview makes me fumble my pen and stutter my words, searching for the questions that have yet been asked. I imagine this happening when the subject doesn’t feel like a stranger at all because the public follows their career, relates to their work and can know what he or she ate for lunch via their Instagram feed. I’m talking big name celebrities, specifically Georgia’s own country music crooners.

As I write this, Sam Hunt of Cedartown, Zac Brown Band of Dahlonega, Cole Swindell of Bronwood and Chris Young of Warner Robins hold top spots on the Billboard charts. If I could only pick one of these to interview, I’m going with Brown.

There’s never been a better time to pick the brain of the famous guitar picker. The band’s fourth album “Jekyll + Hyde” was released last month, and he returns May 8 and 9 for an annual Mother’s Day weekend performance at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

Rather than a backstage experience, I’d join Brown on his back porch in the countryside. We’d eat fried chicken, he’d pass the jar, and I would ask him about the lesser known facets of his creative influence, such as supporting rising singers through his own record label Southern Ground, hosting the Southern Ground Music Festival in multiple cities, creating Camp Southern Ground for children to overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties and cooking up the menu at Southern Ground Social Club in Senoia.

Last but not least, I would ask for writing advice. Above all, I admire the artist’s simple ability to put into words how it feels to be raised in the shade of Georgia pines or putting your toes in the clay. No matter where I go, Brown’s songs will remind me of home.

The questions will have to wait for now, as his publicist regretfully informed me that Brown is incredibly busy preparing for his tour. So check back in another 15 years.  zacbrownband.com