For the month of January 2010, we decided that it would be great to have a Fan Club Member and their guest visit the studio while the boys were recording their new album. We announced it to the Fan Club and the entries started pouring in. The response was incredible!
While I was in Nashville, the name was randomly drawn from the entries and it was handed to me. To my surprise, the winner happened to be one of our Street Team members. We had just spent a good amount of time together during our two day adventure at the Ryman and I remembered Dodie (and her husband, Tim) as a big ball of energy. I couldn’t wait to call her. The call was placed, Dodie cried with excitement, and we made plans to visit the studio the following week.
The days leading up to the visit were progressively getting more and more exciting for both Dodie and Tim. We spoke on the phone a few times and I could just hear the energy in her voice. We planned to meet at the Georgian Terrace in Atlanta at 2:00 pm so I could check them into their room. The hotel happened to be across the street from the Fox Theatre, which is where all the boys put on a star-studded show a few months ago to help raise money to re-build the Georgia Theatre. Dodie and Tim were fully aware of that show and recognized that they were on the same block as this famous theatre.
Dodie and Tim got settled into their room and then put on their seat-belts for what was sure to be a wild, exciting day! After a long detour through downtown Atlanta, we arrived at the studio. Waiting at the front door was Zac himself. He welcomed them and we introduced them to our whole crew who happened to all be waiting in the lobby for Dodie and Tim’s arrival. You will all come to see and believe that these boys genuinely appreciate their fans. Some of them didn’t even have to be in the studio that day but they still came in and welcomed them and spent time hanging out with them. This is not forced… it is a true appreciation to all fans that have helped them get to where they are now. They have always been this way and knowing them the way I do… nothing is going to change that. It is a very rare and charming trait that these boys posses.
Zac toured Dodie and Tim around the facility and all the boys took time out to hang out and speak to them. One of the highlights of the visit is when Dodie, Tim and I were allowed to sit (in complete and total silence) in the loft of the main room while Clay recorded the piano parts to Colder Weather. What a goose-bumps experience. There were actually a few tears that welled up in some eyes.
After a few hours of really just hanging out, Chef Rusty came and delivered dinner to all of us in the Studio. We had SOUL FOOD BABY!!! Dinner consisted of Smothered Chicken, Pan Fried Corn, White Beans with Rice and Ham Hock, Collard Greens (recipe in the new cookbook), Mac n Cheese (I declared it the best I ever had) and Corn Bread with Pimento Cheese in it. Y-UM-MY!!!
After dinner, the boys all went home to their families and Dodie, Tim and I went and hung out at a good friend’s house. We sat and discussed the Fan Club and even called one of our Fan Club members, John, to get his ideas too. It was a great brainstorming session.
From there, we ventured out to Dixie Tavern where several of our Fan Club members from the area came out and met us. Not only did our club come out in force, but a big part of our Zac Brown Band team came out to hang with Dodie and Tim. For those of you who don’t know, Dixie Tavern is pretty much the bar in Atlanta where Zac built his following. We used to play there every single Thursday for a very long time. It used to be that you had to get there early in order to get in the door on the nights that the boys played. Those were very different days.
We all hung out for a few hours and then around 1 pm we all went our separate ways. It was the day that I hoped for and so much more. Dodie and Tim were gracious and so much fun to hang out with all day!! I kept telling them to stop thanking me because I feel like I am the lucky one. I get to interact daily with a huge group of people who passionatley love the band and the team that I so passionately love!! What a blessing!
It is my goal to have several of these “experiences” in a year. We want you all to feel like you are a part of our ZBB Family. Watch for more contests in the following months and make sure to enter. I would love to spend a day with each of you… maybe you will be next!!!
Please go and spread the ZBB Love… it’s an easy thing to spread!!!
T Bird