The Zac Brown Band is a welcome fresh addition to country music’s mainstream. While their sound surely cannot be classified as traditional in the true sense of the word, their music sounds authentic and different than what has currently overtaken country music. They’ve got a vibe like nothing else that we’re hearing on the radio, in large part, thanks to their front man, after whom the group is named, and the sonically laid back production that accompanies some well-crafted songs (“Chicken Fried” notwithstanding).
A sensitive, acoustic driven ballad of a father pouring his heart out to his son, “Highway 20 Ride” displays the honest emotions of a father who is circumstantially forced to be apart from his child as a result of divorce. Using Highway 20 as the motif (the literal road he must travel to both drive toward and away from his boy), the song expresses the raw earnestness of a father who wants his son to understand the most critical part of the aftermath of a divorce: “The day might come you’ll realize/That if you see through my eyes/There was no other way to work it out/And a part of you might hate me/Son please don’t mistake me/For a man that didn’t care at all.”
On an album full of songs that go down easy, but are mostly unremarkable by way of content, “Highway 20 Ride” is a gorgeous standout. The touching and tastefully constructed song may even turn out to be one of the best singles of 2009.
Written by Zac Brown & Wyatt Durrette