Another Oklahoma native, J.R. Carroll has been releasing some incredible stuff lately. He and Bryan have been close friends for a longtime, and in Bryan’s YouTube documentary “Hope,” from the making of Elizabeth, the two talk about how they met.
Carroll recalled, “One day for some reason I felt like everyone wanted to know a list of my favorite songs. So I got on Twitter and I posted this list of like my top 30 favorites. And I think he didn’t even follow me at the time but like someone had liked it so it showed up on his timeline. And he was like ‘hey man, I like your style we should kick it some time.’”
They did, and the first time they hung out, along with their buddy Caleb Buchfink, the boys recorded a cover of the Avett Brother’s song “Weight of Lies.” Bryan remembered he “could not believe how beautiful [Carroll’s] voice was,” and said, “to this day when he starts singing I can not believe how beautiful his voice is and I want people to hear it.”
If such high praise wasn’t enough, Bryan also credits Carroll’s encouragement as a driving factor in his success. Carroll, who grew up singing in church like so many other great singers, has contributed backup vocals and a number of instruments to Bryan’s music, both recorded and unreleased on YouTube.
You may recognize him from some of Zach’s videos, but he also has some really good stuff of his own out there as well. With few songs and a five-song EP called Long Story Short, his career is just beginning, but he could be well on his way to something special.
“Grass That Isn’t Green”
“Time moves slow when you ain’t bursting at the seams Luckily for her, she’s still got time to find her dreams The other side looks greener, but sometimes what’s far away Ain’t close for a reason and she’ll realize that someday.”
“Girl From a Song”
“It’s the way you float so lightly over bridges built for walkin’ You sing instead of talkin’ and you stay instead of run You danced beneath the moonlight on that rainy night in august You didn’t care who saw us I knew then you were the one”
In this video, Carroll performs this love song in the back of Zach Bryan’s Bronco for his “Belting Bronco” series.
Reminiscent of the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud, “Rocky Ford” is a chilling song about a long-standing feud between two families turned violent, and forbidden love between two members of the families.
“Now Jesse says she’s gettin’ tired of runnin’ around She’s sick of the fightin’, says love isn’t chosen it’s found And I think of my brother and if he’d feel the same Layin’ there cold and stiff in his grave With a .44 slug from a Forest boy still in his eye.”
Carroll is in the process of recording his debut album, which I’m sure will not disappoint.
In the meantime, he’s got a bunch of other covers and unreleased songs on YouTube if you liked what you heard.