Zac Brown Band have never shied away from collaborations. Their 2022 CMA Fest set featured a few special guests like King Calloway and Darius Rucker, for example. This time, it’s a new version of their latest single “Out in the Middle,” featuring Blake Shelton.
Opting to keep the song true to its original composition, Shelton’s vocals slide in almost undetected on the second verse before he joins with the band on the chorus.
Sonically the song lends itself to the grit of the outdoors, while the lyrics take you out to a country town past where the radio frequency reaches. It’s an ode to anyone who’s accustomed to living in the sticks — something both Shelton and ZBB frontman Brown can relate to.
“Out in the middle where the hard work meets hard living / Out in the middle where we’re grown ’til we’re gone, God willing / Just some good old boys and good old girls / Hunting red dirt dreams in a concrete world / Getting by on just a little, out in the middle,” Brown sings in the chorus.
Brown says the song was inspired by the “swampy guitars” he grew up on in Georgia.
“When we were coming up with the riffs for ‘Out in the Middle’ and started stacking guitars on it and everything, I knew it was gonna be special,” he shares. “I knew it was special when we were first writing it, but they way it all came to life and everything too.”
“It’s super fun to play and I love how it turned out,” he adds.
Fans still have time to hear “Out in the Middle” live, as Zac Brown Band are currently on the Out in the Middle Tour. The trek will wrap at Chase Field in Phoenix on Nov. 19.
Shelton has a busy summer filled with fair and festival dates, too. In addition, he was on stage for two racing events recently, as he served as the Grand Marshal of the Indy 500 in Nashville over Memorial Day weekend. One week prior, he filled the same role for the NASCAR All Star Race in Fort Worth, Texas.
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