Born and raised in Jacksonville, Fla., brothers Donnie and Johnny Van Zant were raised by a truck-driving father and a mother who worked at Dunkin' Donuts. At home, their parents listened to Merle Haggard, Hank Williams and Mel Tillis. However, their brother Ronnie took another musical direction, finding fame by fronting Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Although Ronnie died in the 1977 plane crash that killed three other people, the brothers have continued his musical legacy. Donnie founded .38 Special, one of the most popular Southern rock bands in the 1980s. Johnny headed an AOR-styled quintet on a 1985 album titled Van Zant (also the name of the group). They disbanded, however, when Johnny joined Lynyrd Skynyrd as lead vocalist when the band reunited in 1987.
The Van Zant group name was revived in 1998 when Johnny and Donnie joined forces on what was slated to be a one-off collaboration titled Brother to Brother. However, reaction to the record was positive enough to convince the duo to continue pursuing the project. A follow-up, Van Zant II, was issued in early 2001. They signed to Sony Nashville -- home to Gretchen Wilson and Montgomery Gentry -- in 2004. Their debut album, Get Right With the Man, was released in 2005 and produced the Top 10 single, "Help Somebody." My Kind of Country arrived in 2007.