It's easy to look at the members of the Zac Brown Band and think they're just another country group.
They've got the right look, the right twang, and their hit songs, like "Chicken Fried," have hit the right spot — No. 1 on the country charts.
But they're more than just your average country band, as Wichita will see firsthand Saturday when the band performs at Intrust Bank Arena.
They're a country band that won a Grammy for best new artist, that plays shows with the Dave Matthews Band and performs at the hip Bonnaroo music festival, along with acts like Kings of Leon and Jay-Z.
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In many ways, Zac Brown and his boys are a jam band disguised as a country band. Their new album, "You Get What You Give," has a 10-minute-long jam, a reggae-tinged song, and songs with both a well-known beach bum, Jimmy Buffett, and well-known country crooner, Alan Jackson.
"If you try to head in one direction then things might get monotonous for you," says Jimmy De Martini, the band's fiddle player. "If you only tour with other country acts, only play at country festivals, only write songs for country radio, then you kind of limit yourself."
Ask him who he hopes their career ends up like, and his answer is swift: The Dave Matthews Band.
"The most important thing to them is their live show, and that's what's important to us. The freedom ... they can do whatever they want."
Not that country music hasn't been kind to the band. It certainly has.
After breaking through with "Chicken Fried," songs such as "Toes," "Highway 20 Ride" and "Free" became staples at country radio. But throughout its history, the band has never been one to play the Nashville game.
Their label — Atlantic Records — didn't even have a Nashville branch when they were signed.
Brown and his band came up in Atlanta, playing in bars and self-financing CDs, even shopping "Chicken Fried" to radio stations on its own after getting dropped from a record deal.
When you consider there's a whole city built around the industry of country music, finding success outside of that machine is no small feat.
"We're blessed, and we're lucky to be able to get our foot in the door," De Martini says. "It seems like people won't take chances with a band that's been trying for a while."
In many ways, Zac Brown Band wasn't all that different from an unsigned local band just three short years ago. Sure, they could pack 'em in Atlanta, but they'd go out of town sometimes and play to only 10 people.
Now, they're touring the country and playing arenas and stadiums.
"Every night," De Martini says, "we go out and look at the crowds. They're still getting bigger."
So this success stuff, it's all still very new. You'll have to excuse De Martini if he's still relishing in it a bit.
"Riding on the tour bus and not taking turns driving," he says, starting to list off the ways he knew they'd made it.
"When I didn't have to load my gear. The first time you hear your song on the radio, that's pretty crazy, too."