Zach Bryan Recalls His Gunner Encouraging Him To Pursue Music While He Was In The U.S. Navy: “I Was Meant For Something Different”

Zach Bryan country music

Zach Bryan released one of the biggest albums of the year today with his incredible debut studio record, American Heartbreak.

And he stopped by Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen to talk about the album and his insane rise to country music stardom.

Of course, when he put out his first viral video back in 2019 of “Condemned,” he was in the middle of his time as an active-duty Navy member.

While he was still committed to serving and loved his time as a member of the United States military, he always felt like he was born to be a songwriter:

“I had people who were in my life that weren’t supportive of me [being a musician]. And I was like, ‘That’s strange. I want to be supported in everything that I do.’

So I left those situations and I honestly was in the Navy and I wasn’t… that’s why my supervisors and things, they were like really, really intrigued by me because I told them. I was like, ‘I don’t have to get out of the Navy.

You guys can keep me if you want. I don’t care. I’ll always write music. No matter what anyone says or anyone does, this is what I do. And that’s what I’m going to do. So you guys can keep me in the Navy. I don’t mind.'”

And one of Zach’s friends and gunners at the time (named Gunner, funny enough) recognized his talent told him he had to eventually leave the military and really pursue a career in music.

Zach said that if it wasn’t for him, he might not’ve been discharged in order to make a full-time career out of singin’ his songs:

“I wanted to be in the Navy. I love the Navy. I love the military. I love being American. But my gunner at the time, he’s from Nashville actually, Gunner Pease.

He looked at me one day and he is like, ‘Dude, you have to do this. If you don’t do this, millions of people who strive every day to do this are going to be disappointed in the fact that you wasted this chance.’

And he saved my… yeah, he saved my butt. He looked at me and said that. And I was like, ‘You know what? You’re right.'”

Zach has a long family history in the armed services, as both of his parents, as well as his great-grandfathers, grandfather and a few uncles, also served in the Navy.

He was honorably discharged from his service in the Navy last October, and I think it’s pretty clear that he made the right call.

In his own words, he “was meant for something different”:

“And he actually got me honorably discharged from the Navy because he knew that if I didn’t do this, I wouldn’t be helping people and getting them through their lives with songwriting.

But I was meant for something different I guess.”

And as a result, we have a beautiful 33-song (and one poem) tracklist of greatness to kickoff his studio era.

You’ve heard us say it a million times before, but he’s a total superstar and poised to remain at the forefront of country music (and beyond) for a long time. An artist like Zach that resonates so genuinely and profoundly doesn’t come along very often.

Here’s just a tiny sample of all the good stuff on American Heartbreak… do yourself a massive favor and check them all out:

“Heavy Eyes”

“Whiskey Fever”

“Sun to Me”

American Heartbreak tracklist:

1. Late July
2. Something In The Orange Z&E
3. Heavy Eyes
4. Mine Again
5. Happy Instead
6. Right Now The Best
7. The Outskirts
8. Younger Years
9. Cold Damn Vampires
10. Tishomingo
11. She’s Alright
12. You are My Sunshine
13. Darling
14. Ninth Cloud
15. Oklahoma City
16. Sun to Me
17. Highway Boys
18.Whiskey Fever
19. Billy Stay
20. Sober Side of Sorry
21. High Beams
22. The Good I’ll Do
23. Someday (Maggie’s)
24. Poems and Closing Time
25. From Austin
26. If She Wants a Cowboy
27. Corinthians (Proctor’s)
28. Open The Gate
29. Half Grown
30. No Cure
31. ’68 Fastback
32. Blue
33. Morning Time
34.This Road I Know

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock