Following the release of their highly successful sophomore album, You Get What You Give, Zac Brown Band knew that they had to elevate their already dynamic sound with Uncaged. With smash hits such as Chicken Fried, Toes and the Jimmy Buffett collaboration, Knee Deep, under their belt, it was clear that the band wanted to experiment with different sounds and styles while still keeping their country, jam band identity.
To say that they elevated their sound would be an understatement. Uncaged ultimately became an extremely eclectic country record that blends wildly different genres together with jaw-dropping cohesion. Brown and Co. expertly traverse traditional country instrumentation while blending bluegrass, rock, jazz, R&B and even a bit of reggae throughout the album’s 11 tracks.
For some country purists, the mere thought of Brown combining all of these different sounds and influences is enough to send a shiver down the spine. However, due to some brilliant production from Brown and Keith Stegall, Uncaged did the unthinkable and managed to blend the aforementioned influences into one, wholly unique listening experience.
In an interview with the Herald Tribune, Brown described Uncaged as “your basic country-Southern rock-bluegrass-reggae-jam record.” Later in the interview, Brown said, “It’s really about making people dance. You just don’t let them go. There’s a lot of songs on the record that when we play them live we’ll extend out long. But it’s really about just grabbing people in that pulse and then not letting them go that entire song.”
Ultimately, Uncaged was not quite as successfull as its predecessor commercially. However, it was still wildly successful for the band. It debuted at #1 on the US Billboard 200, spending multiple weeks there. It would later be certified platinum by the RIAA on Nov. 20, 2013, additionally.
The album spawned four singles including Sweet Annie and Goodbye In Her Eyes. Interestingly, none of the singles reached #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Chart. The aforementioned Sweet Annie and Goodbye In Her Eyes did end up reaching #1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart, however.
Uncaged’s legacy was cemented on Feb. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles when it won Best Country Album at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. The record notably beat Miranda Lambert’s Four the Record and Jamey Johnson’s Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran.
Listen to Sweet Annie, Goodbye In Her Eyes and Day That I Die here: