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July 13, 2014
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Guess who’s coming to dinner


In fact, the band not only mingled, but served the sumptuous meal to their fans, which included beer cheese muffins, Zac’s pocket knife coleslaw, corn spoon bread (with jalapenos) and chocolate peanut butter (OMG) biscuit pudding. Before making the rounds, Brown welcomed his guests, shared his reasons for the “Eat & Greet” and his desire to do something “completely different and more personal” for his fans. “We’re gonna feed you real good and then we’re gonna rock your face off,” he announced, before making his way to my table, pulling out a chair and chatting. “I told you I’d get to you,” he said with a wink and a smile as he shook hands with others nearby. “What’s it like living here year ‘round?” he asked, and we proceeded to chat about the weather, the economy and the Woodstock Music Festival. Apparently, my reputation (uh oh) precedes me, and Brown was aware that I had been on the grounds back in 1969 (http://www.riverreporter.com/issues/09-08-13/feature.html).

Best known for their signature country/folk sound, the band is always “full of surprises,” and I left dinner early to set up my camera and observe the crowd hooting and hollering in anticipation of the show. Opening act “Court Yard Hounds” (two thirds of the Dixie Chicks) entertained first with their signature harmonies and fiddle expertise, before Zac and the band hit the stage for two full hours, covering everything from Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville” to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” sprinkled in with their own “Chicken Fried,” “Jump Right In,” and “Knee Deep.” These guys (IMHO) are the real deal—laid back, down-home, country folk with a flair for hospitality and the ability to make thousands feel as if they’re on the front porch having a good time with good old boys, pickin’ the guitar and havin’ a beer. “I’m not much of a guitar player,” Brown shared, “but I’m on stage with the best of the best. I hope you’ll all come back, and when you do be sure to leave room for dinner.”