Atlanta-based country act Zac Brown Band has signed with Atlantic Records, Billboard.com has learned. The group’s album, “The Foundation,” will be released on Atlantic/Home Grown/Big Picture on Nov. 18 and was produced by Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson).
The band includes singer/guitarist Zac Brown, fiddler Jimmy De Martini, bassist John Hopkins, guitarist/organist Coy Bowles and drummer Chris Fryar.
Brown says the band’s split with Live Nation Artists, which has been its label home for the last year, was amicable and was precipitated by the exit of former CEO Michael Cohl, who left in June. “When he left the company, I think they wanted to stick their normal business model,” Brown says of the signing of established superstar acts such as Madonna. “They treated us very well. They helped us out for a year and now we’re free and happy and encouraged to sign with Atlantic.”
“It was just a matter of getting the right deal for us and they stepped up to the plate with it,” Brown says of Atlantic.
The group’s current single, “Chicken Fried,” is currently No. 6 on Hot Country Songs and No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, and has sold 161,000 digital downloads in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The song also appeared on the group’s 2004 album “Home Grown.”
An aggressive touring band, the group performs upwards of 250 dates a year and has shared the stage with Sugarland, Alan Jackson, Los Lonely Boys, Willie Nelson, B.B. King and ZZ Top, among others.
“Zac Brown Band is a self-made American success story,” Atlantic chairman/CEO Craig Kallman said in a statement. “They’ve built up a phenomenal grassroots base with music that cuts across musical boundaries and walks of life to speak to the hearts of people everywhere.”
Big Picture Entertainment Group, of which Stegall is one of the principals, is a production company and its subsidiary, Bigger Picture Promotion, handles radio promotion. “Big Picture is going to essentially be our Nashville wing,” Brown says of the arrangement. Atlantic does not have a Nashville division.
The band is managed by Beverly Hills-based ROAR, a talent and brand management company.