Zac Brown Band skips ACMA ceremony to spend time with JBB members

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Wes Carter
  • 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
"Salute the ones who died, and the ones that give their lives, so we don`t have to sacrifice, all the things we love..."

These words aren't just lyrics to one of the Zac Brown Band's biggest hits "Chicken Fried," they represent what the band is all about.
Nominated for two American Country Music Awards, the band elected to skip the ACMA ceremony April 18 to perform for servicemembers at Joint Base Balad's Holt Stadium instead that night.

"It's a way to give back," Zac Brown said. "We realize that it's not necessarily the front page news anymore back home, but we owe you guys a lot for what you do for us."

The group performed a two-and-a-half hour set that included fan favorites like "Chicken Fried" and "Toes" to a crowd of more than 2,000 servicemembers and contractors. The band, which is based out of Atlanta, put on a show that allowed servicemembers to momentarily forget about the deployed environment.

"The concert had a feel of home," said Tech Sgt. Mike Biseinere, a 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron aircraft electrician. "It was very informal - it was really great. I really enjoyed it."

This was the band's second USO tour to the Persian Gulf region, and the decision to come was easy for the lead vocalist.

"For us to come over and spend one week out of our lives when you guys spend months and years for our freedom - we're proud to be able to come over and do that," Brown said. "Hopefully it boosts moral, and we can help people put their mind at ease for a bit."
And as the lyrics to "Chicken Fried" sum up: "I thank god for my life, and for the Stars and Stripes, may freedom forever fly -- let it ring."