Country Throwback: Story Behind Zac Brown Band’s Classic ‘Chicken Fried’

by Charles Craighill
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If you listen to the Zac Brown Band, you are all too familiar with the tune “Chicken Fried.” The band first recorded the song in 2003 but later re-recorded it for the 2008 album, The Foundation. The song, for the most part, is an ode to southern living. A simple list of all things good about the South, from fried chicken to a pair of jeans. The bridge, however, dips into a deeper appreciation for why those comforts exist.

Speaking with The Boot, Zac Brown explained how he wrote the song with his friend Wyatt Durrette. Brown would play at Dixie Tavern in Atlanta, where Durrette worked as a bartender. At one point, the two sat down to try their hand at writing songs together.

“The first time we ever sat down to write some songs, we wrote ‘Whatever It Is,'” Brown said. “We knew we had something special.”

The song “Chicken Fried” came from an idea of Wyatt Durrette. Brown really liked the idea, so the two ran with it. They made “a list of things that mattered to us and then things that are characteristic of the South,” and built the song around it. That structure and that story are what builds most of the iconic song.

The Patriotic Bridge of Zac Brown Band’s ‘Chicken Fried’

The song “Chicken Fried” consists of all of the key elements that make Southerners who they are. At one point, Zac Brown reflected on why those Southern comforts exist.

“I was realizing how fortunate we are to be free,” Brown said. “To travel and to play music or whatever it is that you do as an American. There is a cost that other people have paid for us to be able to do those things and enjoy all the simple things.”

With that, Brown came up with the patriotic bridge in the middle of the song. This bridge is a tribute to the veterans and soldiers “who laid down their lives” for American freedom.

“It’s a reminder to myself and a reminder to everybody else to not take the little things for granted.”

Zac Brown has always been outspoken in his support for the troops and veterans, and this is just one instance where it worked is way into his songwriting.

[H/T The Boot]

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