Fans of Zac Brown Band know Jimmy De Martini as the band's longtime violinist-slash-fiddler, but they may not know that prior to joining ZBB, De Martini played in a Dave Matthews Band cover band (appropriately, and simply, named Dave Matthews Cover Band). DMB's "jam band" style has been influential not only for De Martini's current role but also for Zac Brown Band as a whole.

De Martini tells The Boot that he began as a classical violinist, as a child and in school, but he was drawn to the Dave Matthews Band and those "acoustic rock band[s]" that used violins. Perhaps surprisingly, he was never all that into country music and admits he doesn't "have much fiddle style."

"I'm learning a bit more as we go, but I didn't have a heavy country influence," De Martini explains. "Zac [Brown] always tried to bring different genres or different styles into the band, and I think he appreciated the fact that I approached violin a little differently in the band."

According to De Martini, the Dave Matthews Band's influence on Zac Brown Band is apparent musically, yes, but also in the way that Brown chose to form the group.

"He could have easily had a career as Zac Brown, without the band," De Martini notes, "but he wanted to put together something cohesive, where we're actually a band, a unit, and we all have a say in things, and he's not just going into the studio with a bunch of studio musicians and then going on the road with those musicians."

Zac Brown Band will be on the road this summer, on their Black Out the Sun Tour, which includes a stop at Country Jam 2016 in June. Prior to beginning their new tour, ZBB will host the 2016 Southern Ground Music & Food Festival, set to take place on April 16 and 17 at the MUSC Health Stadium in Charleston, S.C.

More of 2016's Country Music Tours

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