The Zac Brown Band is back in the stadiums this summer — and wouldn't have it any other way, according to the group's fiddle player and backing singer Jimmy De Martini.
“I really enjoy it,” Jimmy De Martini tells Billboard. “There's a certain energy that comes along, kind like a multiplier effect. People are coming to a stadium where they're used to having a good time seeing baseball, and now there's a concert on top it. There's an extra excitement, an extra buzz going in that makes it a little more fun.
“The sound is great in stadiums as well,” he continues. “I was worried the first time we played 'em that there'd be echoes and unwanted reverb, but we bring in enough P.A., and in the open-air stadiums it sounds amazing and really gets everyone into it.”
The ZBB began its Down The Rabbit Hole Live tour during early June, with a few arenas and amphitheaters scattered among the stadium dates — with openers that include OneRepublic, the Mark O'Connor Band, Nahko and Medicine For The People, and Darrell Scott. The weekend shows are scheduled into September, and De Martini reports that the group has been carefully tailoring its material for maximum impact in the large venues. “We have to make sure we get the setlist right so everybody's gonna have a good time,” he says repertoire that's included ZBB hits, along with covers songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, the Beastie Boys and others.
After the tour the group's plan is to “just keep writing music and try to do a different type music every time we put out a new album,” according to De Martini. So the follow-up to last year's back-to-roots set Welcome Home will take another turn — and while there's a sense where it's going De Martini isn't willing to share too many details.
“We have a bunch songs in the bag — we actually have some halfway recorded,” he says. “I’m not sure exactly what we're gonna do or when we're gonna record it, but it's kind a surprise. I don't think I can reveal too much, but just say it's a different sound. We're stretching the boundaries again, for sure. Sonically it may vary from some stuff we've done in the past, but I think people like that about us. Overall we try to just make good music.”