The Jackson connection, meanwhile, came from sharing a producer (Keith Stegall) and also having opened for the country star. "When it was written," Hopkins recalls, "one of the first things we thought was, 'Wouldn't it be great to have Alan Jackson come in and be a part of this tune? It's kind of an extended family hookup, and certainly a very welcome one. He's got over 50 million records [sold] himself. We just knew if we could get him involved, it would get a great, different kind of fan base for us."
"You Get What You Give's" 15 tracks -- "I've heard Zac say we're in the over-serve business," Hopkins cracks -- will also include "Colder Weather," which the group first demoed at Kid Rock's studio outside Detroit on Memorial Day weekend of 2009 and included on its recent live album, "Pass the Jar." Hopkins wrote one track, "I Play the Road," while a 10-minute version of another track, "Who Knows," appeared on the 2009 "Live From Bonnaroo" EP. "It's one we've done live for a long time," Hopkins says, "and finally we got a recording of it." He adds that it's the first group-written song in the band's catalog.
The Atlanta-based sextet, which won this year's Grammy Award for Best New Artist, is on tour through Sept. 26, including its five-day Sailing Southern Ground Cruise over Labor Day weekend. But with Brown and fiddler Jimmy De Martini both expecting babies, Hopkins says the group, which is also building a new studio in Atlanta, is planning an extended stretch off tour -- but will still aggressively promote "You Get What You Give" when it comes out.
"We are planning some TV and possibly some other shows," Hopkins says. "We hope that the original release is going to be a big splash, so I'm not sure how much touring we will get done in support of it directly, but we are planning some good stuff coming up."