Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson, "As She's Walking Away"

The new effort from the Zac Brown Band might seem a bit formulaic at first.  It's a scene set in a bar, and it could fall under the "wise man's advice" song category that Lee Brice has been beating further into the ground with "Love Like Crazy."

But take a closer listen.  It tells a story, and the story has a simple message:  "Don't be falling in love as she's walking away."  Zac Brown takes on the role of a man who trips all over himself in an attempt to engage an attractive woman in conversation.  At that point, a wise man sitting next to him (who sounds a lot like Alan Jackson - because he is) offers Zac a bit of advice.  "Don't let regret get in the way of the dreams you have to chase.... Don't be falling in love as she's walking away."  He encourages this young man to take the initiative in getting to know a woman, and not to be held back by fear of failure.

The band's harmonies set against a simple fiddle-driven arrangement is a sonic treat.  But what really makes this song work is the fact that each duet partner fills a well-defined role in the song.  It doesn't sound at all like Alan's voice was tacked on in order to increase radio popularity.  Instead, it sounds like the song couldn't work without him.  The sense of interplay between the vocalists is of great interest.  The way they converse with one another makes it seem as if the story is playing out right before our very eyes.

"As She's Walking Away" is quite possibly the finest single we've yet heard from the Zac Brown Band, and it's worthy addition to Alan Jackson's illustrious catalog as well.

(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)