The Zac Brown Band ballad “My Old Man” arrived nearly a year ago.
But on Sunday, the tender song that speaks to the emotional complexities of fatherhood will vie to win the Atlanta-based musicians their fourth Grammy Award.
“It’s a very personal tune for Zac,” said the band’s multitalented, multi-instrumentalist John Driskell Hopkins last week from his private studio in Atlanta. “It’s one of those songs that strikes a chord in everybody who was close to their dad and to everybody who has been a dad to someone else. It’s one of those things I’m really proud to be part of.”
The song is nominated for best country duo/group performance at the 60th annual awards ceremony, which will air at 7:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS. Their competition includes a couple of other familiar Georgia names — Lady Antebellum (“You Look Good”) and Little Big Town (“Better Man”) — along with Brothers Osborne (“It Ain’t My Fault”) and Midland (“Drinkin’ Problem”).
If the band emerges victorious, it’ll receive another trophy to go with 2010’s best new artist, 2011’s best country collaboration with vocals (“As She’s Walking Away” with Alan Jackson) and 2013’s best country album (“Uncaged”).
The Grammys, said Hopkins, are “the granddaddy of all award shows to me. It’s peer voted (and) all genres in music. It’s the kind of thing where you feel that it counts, that you’ve made an impact not just on the audience, but on music. It’s a thrill — it really is.”
Hopkins is also on the board of the Atlanta chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the Grammys.
Before the telecast, Brown will appear as a presenter during the Premiere Ceremony (renamed in 2015 from the decidedly blah “Pre-Telecast Ceremony”), when more than 70 of the 84 categories will be distributed. It will stream live on Grammy.com from 3-6 p.m. Sunday and be available on demand following the broadcast.
The Zac Brown Band’s Grammy weekend will actually start on Friday, when they will perform at Radio City Music Hall during the annual MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute Concert, which is honoring Fleetwood Mac.
Hopkins couldn’t reveal the band’s song selection for the event (other artists performing include Keith Urban, Imagine Dragons, Harry Styles and Miley Cyrus), but said he’s thrilled that the Zac Brown Band was asked — for the first time as a unit — to play.
“We’re big fans of Fleetwood Mac. You don’t find bands that do harmony like that,” he said. “The bands we grew up really admiring and trying to emulate are Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, and for me, the Little River Band. These big-harmony bands have been a big influence on us. It’s really an honor to play for them.”