Coy Bowles is in his hometown of Thomson, Ga. Its Dec. 19, and while its cold here in Indiana, Bowles says by phone that Its a beautiful day in Georgia.
He fishes with his dad and rides his motorcycle in the Mayberry-style town where he grew up.
But Bowles and the rest of the Zac Brown Band members will be in Fort Wayne tonight as the group brings its U.S. tour to Memorial Coliseum.
Concert goers can expect a mixture of music from former albums, songs from the bands most recent release, Uncaged, and some newer covers. The Atlanta bands songs combine country and Southern rock, along with reggae and R&B.
We try to do a good mix, Bowles says. Its really important to us to kind of give the audience what they want to hear.
The band has had enough songs with radio play that itd take up nearly the entire show to focus solely on those songs. So the band tries to mix some favorites with songs fans may not have heard on the radio, in part for those hardcore fans who follow the band and attend multiple concerts a year.
Theyre our bread and butter, Bowles says of the fans, and we dont want to give them the same thing if they come to a couple shows. We want to switch it up as much as we can without leaving out too much.
Newer covers include a pretty dynamite version of Devil Went Down to Georgia, Bowles says, that showcases the bands fiddle player, Jimmy De Martini, and Zac Browns insanely fast picking style, and Metallicas Enter Sandman, which the band played for the first time at a concert at Madison Square Garden in November.
What makes this tour different from other bands tours is theres not quite an end date, and there wasnt quite a start date – which means the Zac Brown Band doesnt get much of a break.
Not that Bowles would take a break. In addition to playing guitar and keyboards for the Zac Brown Band, he heads up his own band, Coy Bowles and the Fellowship. He also published his first childrens book last year.
Which begs the question: Do you ever rest?
I try not to, he says. Life is very, very short to me. We live such a fragile existence. I just really believe that while youre here, you have an opportunity to create and affect people and also make music, which is such a beautiful thing.
Bowles book, Amy Giggles: Laugh Out Loud, is a story about a little girl with a big laugh some do not appreciate.
Bowles does not have children, so he turned to his bandmates for inspiration in creating and detailing the title character, Amy Giggles.
She is a piece of each of their children, of their personalities and looks. He even collected photos of bandmates kids to help brainstorm how the illustrator should design Amy and her peers.
Bowles is now working on his second childrens book this year and has his sights on a new solo album. His first, Love Takes Flight, came out in 2011.
Last summer, Bowles worked with other band members on their solo projects, which made him want to get back into the studio.
I get fueled, and I get energy from being involved with creative projects and people, he says. (Its been a) year and half since I did (my solo album). Man, I need to get another. I need to keep up.