FOLLOWING THE JULY RELEASE OF THEIR LIVE LP RAW, ICONIC TEXAS BLUES-ROCKERS ZZ TOP ARE BRINGING ANTHEMS, GRIT, AND RAW WHISKEY TO ATLANTIC CITY ON OCTOBER 21

BY MADELYN DAWSON

Never has there been a band as universally recognizable as ZZ Top. With dark black sunglasses perched atop their signature two-foot long beards, they ooze Southern coolness before they even pick up a guitar pick. A five-decade career, marked by a motto of tone, taste, and tenacity, is certainly no accident, and today the trio’s epochal blues transcends their iconography.

Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard’s newest release epitomizes the endurance of their sound and style, reminding listeners why ZZ Top has been a mainstay of rock ‘n roll for twice as long as Justin Bieber has been alive. The live album Raw, released in July, marries raucous energy with stripped-back blues magnetism. The concept came together unconventionally: without a crowd present. Every brassy bit of passion is the work of Gibbons, Hill, and Beard. The already Grammy-nominated release soundtracks their upcoming Netix Rockumentary at Little Ol’ Band From Texas, and contains powerful versions of classics like “Gimme All Your Lovin.’”

The moniker Little Ol’ Band from Texas, though, is a bit of an understatement. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers have been active since 1969, with a discography of 15 studio albums and more than 50 million records sold worldwide. Their steadfast approach has elevated them to legend status, and they boast the longest-running career with an unchanged lineup: from 1969 until 2021.

In 2021, tragedy struck the trio. Hill, the bassist, passed away in his sleep. Though grieving, Gibbons and Beard were determined to commemorate Hill exactly how he requested, allowing their guitar technician Elwood Francis to step into his shoes. They continue to tour and their resilience only works to strengthen the tribute they continue to pay to their band mate and friend.

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ZZ Top’s Raw Whisky Tour keeps on rocking with Francis on stage, hitting AC on October 21. As they bring down the house with guitar harmonies on “Sharp Dressed Man,” the group will continue to honor their past while bringing their passion to a present-day living legacy.

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