Thus far in the Fab Five series, I have been conscience of spreading the wealth, artist-wise. Even when I really like multiple songs from an album, I try to only feature one.
This week is the exception.
See, every now and again, I will stumble across a voice that stops me in my tracks. It consumes me as I consume it. I become obsessed.
The Binghams, the Morelands, the Barhams, the Childers.
Enter: Zach Bryan.
A 23-year -old from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Bryan is somewhere between John Moreland and Tyler Childers. Just a kid with an acoustic guitar and early-Childers-like vocals, with some killer lines and songwriting chops with serious promise.
He arrived with no fanfare. He showed up on my radar when he wrote a song for Evan Felker, who is going through alcohol-related issues. But I did not get any further until a buddy who shares a mutual obsession with Childers told me to listen.
Without a manager, without a label, without publishing, Bryan posted videos, and uploaded an album to streaming services this year. That album, DeAnn, was released after his mother DeAnn passed away. It features a collection of songs fueled by that event. And it simply enthralling. There are no “official” videos, lyric videos, or really production of any kind. Youtube is littered with cell phone recordings. But, he is good enough to make you forgive him for recording vertically. Seriously kids, friends don’t let friends squat high or record vertical. Remember that.
Bryan caught everyone off guard. He doesn’t really have a tour set up. Well, not that kind of tour. He is active duty Navy. An ordinance man. As former field artillery, I can appreciate a man with the ability to blow shit up, whether it be literally or figuratively.
His mom was Navy. His dad was Navy. His grandpa was Navy. He. Is. Navy.
The buddy that made sure I listened–an Army recruiter. Go figure.
He has nearly a year before his next employment. So, here is to hoping I get the chance to catch him live somewhere. I checked. He is in Kentucky next week. I would have made the drive, if not for a trip to California beginning the day before.
After watching these videos, I highly recommend going and reading the Saving Country Music profile on Bryan.
Zach Bryan–Heading South
For the first of my five, however, we are going to lead off with a single released just after DeAnn, called Heading South. This is one of those vertical videos. I think my favorite youtube comment was “He doesn’t sing these lyrics, he bleeds them”
Was a boy who was a dreamer and he flew so high and proud, in a world that was full of people out to cut his young ass down. No one ever understood, a single word he said, and they’d cast him to the wolves when he wasn’t well and fed. Well boys we got a riser, a riser in our midst, and he will get the last laugh if it’s the last thing he did. And he used to roll around in that red dirt mud, but now he’s skipping town and that dreamers out for blood. Don’t stop going, going south. Cause they’ll let you play your music, real damn loud. Don’t stop heading, heading south, cause they’ll understand the words that are pourin from your mouth. And that dreamer’ll call his daddy, and tell him what he did, had the masses screaming lyrics of a messed up kid. Then he told his daddy, he was never coming back, to be cut down again in a town like that. And he surely came to learn people come to watch you fall. That dreamers out to make a name and a fool out of em all. They’ll never understand that boy and his kind, cause all they comprehend is a worthless dollar sign. Don’t stop going, going south. Cause they’ll let you play your music, real damn loud. Don’t stop headin, headin south, cause they’ll let understand the words that are pouring from your mouth
Zach Bryan–Flying Or Crying
Speaking of Tyler Childers, he gets name-dropped on this one.
We could find a porch to hold us
Where we could all scream "Childers"
Drink the shit that kills us
Until we all remember
Who it was when we were younger
'Fore the world took our pride
We were walking in straight lines
Trynna find who’s good to drive
And I've had so many evenings
The way I've felt I can’t recall
Was I jumping from the rafters
When my buddies broke my fall
By the end of the night
We'd be flying or crying
Talking 'bout the times
We've spent living towards dying
Zach Bryan–God Speed
This one is the one where I got the hint of Moreland in the song writing. It reminds me of Gospel.
Zach Bryan–Sweet DeAnn
And here is the ode to his deceased mother. That reminds me, I need to call my mother. You probably should call your mother too. This one goes in my Fetal Position playlist. For those who have lost one, this one is a “curl up in the corner and drink all night”, a mash-up of Lincoln Durham’s Momma and Holly Williams’ Waitin’ on June.
Zach Bryan–From A Lover’s Point of View
And this one just came out yesterday.
I have been kicking around the idea of a “Five songs to make you a fan” series. Consider this week’s version of Fab Five Friday a trial run at that.