When the song became a hit, Alan, in his usual aw-shucks drawl, said, "It was nice of Zac to ask me to be part of the song. He's a nice guy."
The collaboration was not the first time the two singers crossed paths. Some time before the Zac Brown Band had a huge, breakthrough hit with 'Chicken Fried,' Zac pitched the song to Alan to record, but the Georgia native turned it down. "I had just recorded several songs about food, and I just thought I should not record another one at the time," Alan remembered. "I thought it was a good song, and I was happy when they had their own hit with it."
When he heard 'As She's Walking Away,' Alan had no hesitation in saying yes to being a part of the song -- which was also a Grammy winner. "We're both from Georgia, and we've played some shows together. He's a real musician and songwriter, and that's why I like him. We're both fans of each other, and I thought the song was cool so I agreed to do it."
Wyatt Durrette co-wrote the tune with Zac. It was his experience in a bar in Orlando that led to the idea for the hit. "Zac and I were in this bar and there was a girl there with her boyfriend, but she was watching me. We never spoke but we were aware of each other all night," Wyatt recalls. "After I left I realized I had missed out by not talking to her, and I was just kicking myself. So that gave me the idea of 'I'm falling in love while she's walking away.' I knew I'd never see her again; I didn't even know her name. She'll never know the song is about her and I'll never forget her."
Zac has a new car from the entire recording experience. Alan surprised him with the gift of a 1966 Cadillac El Dorado when the two performed at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena last December. Zac was thrilled with the white convertible, which was a cool way for Alan to say thanks for including him on the No. 1 smash.
The whole Alan and Zac experience came full circle on the ACM Awards, when Alan introduced Zac's performance with James Taylor on the live broadcast. The two artists received a standing ovation after performing the poignant ZBB ballad, 'Colder Weather,' along with James' classic 'Sweet Baby James.'