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by Linda Ryan

May 24, 2014

Celebrity Playlist: Zac Brown Band's Clay Cook

by Linda Ryan  |  May 24, 2014

Songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Clay Cook, currently of Zac Brown Band, is an avid music fan with an unconventional musical history. Cook, who spent two years at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, left school to pursue music in his hometown of Atlanta, with Berklee bandmate John Mayer. (Well, we all know how that one worked out!) After Mayer went solo, Cook joined his uncle's group, The Marshall Tucker Band, before playing with Shawn Mullins. From there, Cook was in the original lineup of Sugarland, before throwing in with Zac Brown in late 2008. He says, "I feel that my whole life I've been preparing to be in the band."

Cook can usually be found picking a guitar for ZBB, but you never know what he will pull out of his bag of tricks. His taste in music is varied, since he can appreciate the gentle alt-folk sway of Marcus Mumford's "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)" as enthusiastically as he does the complex guitar tones of Coldplay's "A Rush of Blood to the Head." We can't even guess how it must have felt working with Dave Grohl on Zac Brown Band's Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1, but it sure sounds like they gelled exceptionally well.

We asked Cook to make a playlist of some of his favorite songs for us. He went above and beyond, and wrote a little something about each and every song he chose. Hit play and listen to some of Clay Cook's favorites, and read below for more insights on the songs themselves.

1. Andy Gullahorn, "Skinny Jeans"
This is a very honest, witty song. I wish I wrote it.

2. Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford, "Fare Thee Well (Dink's Song)"
Sometimes music from a movie is better than the movie itself.

3. Ry Cooder, "Dark End of the Street"
While Ry doesn't sing on this particular track, the fellas who do command your attention. As usual, the slide solo is beautiful.

4. Steely Dan, "Dirty Work"
A rare Steely Dan hit with someone other than Donald Fagen on vocals. Also, this song was never released as a single.

5. Coldplay, "A Rush of Blood to the Head"
I've been listening to this [eponymous] album a lot lately. It's really hard to pick a favorite but I always play this song.

6. Chaka Khan, "I Feel for You"
Written by Prince. Rap by Mellie Mel. Harmonica by Stevie Wonder. Oh yeah, and sung by Chaka Kahn. Feels SO GOOD.

7. John Mayer, "I Will Be Found (Lost at Sea)"
This album Paradise Valley (and its predecessor Born and Raised) is the most vulnerable and touching I've ever seen this genius get.

8. Kentucky Thunder & Ricky Skaggs, "Shady Grove"
Some people don't dig on bluegrass. I do. This is bluegrass at its finest.

9. Levi Lowrey, "What She Don't Know"
All the instruments are recorded live. Just beautiful.

10. Miranda Lambert, "Automatic"
I am a HUGE Miranda Lambert fan. She is currently the top of the top, for female country singers. This song is fantastic.

11. Owsley, "Oh No the Radio"
One of my favorite mixes of all time. The song feels great and interesting.

12. Pink, "There You Go"
The world's introduction to Pink ... and she kicked the door down.

13. Freddy King, "I'm Tore Down"
No explanation needed.

14. Ben Folds Five, "Army"
Brilliant music and lyrics. Such a detailed portrait.

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