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Zac Brown Band and Dave Grohl

The Grohl Sessions Vol. 1 – 2013 (Southern Ground)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Zac Brown Band and Dave Grohl

A fine sampling of the Zac Brown Band's ability to turn tattered ballads into rugged rockers, "The Grohl Sessions" EP is still something of a misnomer, given that Grohl - a prime mover in the Foo Fighters, Nirvana and Queens of the Stone Age - merely makes a modest cameo, pounding the skins on only one of its four songs. Nevertheless, the incongruity of finding Grohl's name attached to a country combo, no matter how gritty, will still serve the project well in terms of sales strategy. Just look at John Fogerty's "Wrote a Song for Everyone" and how his label drafted marquee stars to resell his songs. One might suspect that Brown and company are taking a lesson from Fogerty's playbook.

Well, maybe...Grohl's limited participation does call into question the truth in this I-Tune-only offering's advertising, and even though Allman Brothers/Tedeschi-Trucks Band stalwart Oteil Burbridge does contribute bass on each of its four tracks, any attempt call this a super session could be called into question. It's far better to consider the worth of the material itself, which fortunately excels on melodic merit above all. The weathered All Alright, with its wash of wah-wah guitar, and its follow-up, Let It Rain, the track that puts Grohl in the mix, each verge on the anthemic. Likewise, the stirring, surging The Muse and the mighty, occasionally meandering Day for the Dead keep the energy...and the enthusiasm at a high pitch. Which, when taken in tandem, makes "The Grohl Sessions" a worthy acquisition for both fans and first-timers.

Because it's branded as "Vol. 1," it's reasonable to expect a "Vol. 2," although it remains to be seen the extent of Grohl's further involvement. No matter. If the next set of songs is as impressive as this, then getting Grohl will be of minimal value at best.