February 1, 2021 | « back

PEOPLE.COM — Zac Brown Band Releases Cover of James Taylor’s Hit Song ‘Sweet Baby James’: He’s ‘My Influence’

By Darlene Aderoju

Zac Brown Band has released a new cover song that will ease music listeners’ ears.

On Friday, the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning group dropped their Amazon Original cover of James Taylor’s classic song “Sweet Baby James.” Their soulful rendition is available for both purchase and streaming on Amazon Music’s “Fresh Country” playlist. Zac Brown Band’s frontman has always been an avid fan of the star, who is now 72.

“I started listening to James Taylor in elementary school,” Brown, 42, said in a statement. “He’s probably my single biggest influence that I’ve ever had.”

For the country star, Taylor’s impressive skills as a guitarist are what really seal the deal. He said of his inspiration, “What Taylor plays on the acoustic guitar is very hard, there are moving baselines and there’s a rhythm and melody all playing at one time. He showed me what you can do with a single guitar to accompany a song. I hope our fans love this as much as we do.”

The country hitmakers have already joined forces in a huge way. In 2011, Zac Brown Band and Taylor hit the stage together and wowed fans at Academy of Country Music Awards. They performed a medley of fan-favorites, including hit song “Colder Weather” and of course, “Sweet Baby James.”

Zac Brown Band released “The Man Who Loves You the Most” and “You and Islands” digitally last year — the former debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country digital song sales chart.

The original “Sweet Baby James” is still considered one of Taylor’s most popular tracks and was the lead single of his 1970 eponymous breakthrough album.