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Zach Bryan

Zach Bryan

A plaintive, quivering country troubadour indebted to the literary side of Red Dirt country -- he wrote a song saluting Evan Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours, one of the genre's leading lights of the 2010s -- Zach Bryan began carving out a career for himself while he was still enlisted in the Navy. He recorded his 2019 debut DeAnn during a break in his service and it, along with videos he posted online, helped him cultivate an audience that crested with the 2020 release of Elisabeth and its accompanying single "Heading South." Bryan capitalized on this burgeoning popularity with American Heartbreak, a sprawling 2022 triple album that marked his major-label debut and mainstream breakthrough: it debuted at number one on Billboard's Country Albums chart. He consolidated his success in 2023 with a self-titled album that featured the hit duet with Kacey Musgraves, "I Remember Everything."

A native of Oklahoma, spending time in both Oologah and Tulsa, Zach Bryan received his first guitar at the age of 14. Soon he learned how to play, then started to write songs. When he came of age, Bryan enlisted in the Navy, just like his parents before him and his father's father before that. During his spare time in the service, he wrote songs. While on leave, he spent some time relaxing at an Airbnb in Jacksonville, Florida. He and his friends spontaneously decided to record the songs that became his 2019 debut DeAnn; he named the album after his late mother.

DeAnn earned positive buzz among Red Dirt aficionados, so Bryan decided to record a second album in the same fashion. Featuring the single "Heading South," the resulting Elisabeth appeared in 2020. The following year saw Bryan release live versions of "Hell or Highwater" and "Condemned," and make his debut at the Grand Ole Opry. "From Austin" appeared in early 2022 as the lead single to his third record, American Heartbreak, a triple album issued through Warner Records in May 2022. The release found an audience, debuting at number one on the Billboard Country chart and five on its Top 200. Bryan supported the album with an extensive tour, the final show of which was captured on the LP All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster (Live from Red Rocks).

In January 2023, Bryan released the single "Dawns," which featured Maggie Rogers. A relatively succinct 16-song eponymous effort arrived on August 25, featuring appearances by Kacey Musgraves, the Lumineers, Sierra Ferrell, and the War and Treaty.~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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