Coy Bowles, guitarist and keyboardist in the platinum-selling, three-time Grammy Award-winning Zac Brown Band, received delivery of his latest Grammy this week. Because Bowles travels so much and wouldn’t be around to receive it himself, he had the award shipped to his parents’ house. The golden statuette impressed even his practically minded, carpenter dad.
Uncaged, which debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 album chart last July, won a Grammy for best country album.
Bowles joined his fellow Zac Brown Band members at the awards ceremony in February in Los Angeles. Their nomination category originally wasn’t going to be featured in the television broadcast.
“Like two days before, they announced that the award was going to be televised,” Bowles said. “Honestly, we didn’t really think we were going to win. When they said our name, we were like, ‘What?’ ”
Winning a Grammy for Uncaged was even more gratifying than the band’s previous wins.
“This album is really special,” Bowles said. “As far as how it took shape, it almost couldn’t have been more organic.
“Everybody wrote a bunch of songs on the road. Then we went to an isolated place where it was just the band. We rehearsed for four or five days, cleaned the songs up, finished the writing and the arrangements.
“Then we went into a studio, with just the band, and recorded the songs. Out of all the Grammys and accomplishments that we have, this is the one that’s the most honest. Nothing that we did wasn’t 100 percent band. It felt good.”
Uncaged is also the first Zac Brown Band album to feature the group’s latest member, Daniel de los Reyes. A percussionist, de los Reyes’ previous credits include Peter Frampton, Sting, Stevie Nicks and Earth, Wind & Fire.
“Danny adds spice to the music, especially in the more island-y songs,” Bowles said. “And he is the only musician we’ve ever met who plays more than we do. With us, somebody’s always got a guitar in their hands, always banging on something or writing something.”
In addition to the seven-man band’s collective talent, luck may have played a role in the winning of Grammy No. 3. Every year, prior to the big awards shows that the Zac Brown Band attends, Bowles’ dad gathers nuts from the buckeye tree, one for every member of the band.
“A lot of people keep them in their pockets,” Bowles said of the nuts. “Supposedly for good luck.”
The Atlanta-based Bowles went out of his way to ensure that he and his bandmates had buckeyes for their latest trip to the Grammys.
“I was about to leave when I realized, ‘Man, I don’t have buckeyes to take out to L.A!’ So I asked a friend of mine to drive to my dad’s house and then drive all the way up to Atlanta, just get these buckeyes. I gave him a hundred bucks for on-the-spot hustling for me. It paid off.”
Uncaged isn’t entirely an inhouse project. It features guest appearances by singer-songwriter Amos Lee as well as New Orleans’ Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.
On first hearing Andrews and his band, Orleans Avenue, via an all-New Orleans music mixtape, the Zac Brown Band was knocked out.
“I told Zac, ‘This is the jam right here,’ ” Bowles recalled.
Days later, Brown suggested they invite Andrews to the studio.
“Troy was way into it,” Bowles said. “And before our album came out, we were like, ‘Come open up some shows for us.’ So he did. Troy has a slamming band.”