Zach Bryan Delivers A Self-Titled Album That Embodies Being “Original When It Mattered” And Represents Exactly Who He Is

Zach Bryan country music
Zach Bryan

It’s HERE.

Zach Bryan’s self-titled album is out everywhere as of today, his second release since he inked a deal with Warner Records and the follow-up to his behemoth of a major label debut, the 34-song, Gold-certified American Heartbreak.

Of course, ever since Zach started teasing another record might be on the way earlier this year, fans have been anticipating the 16-songs, which includes a beautiful opening poem, where Zach quite poignantly remarks that fear and Friday’s have a lot in common because,

“They are overdone and glorified and always leave you wanting.”

It’s hard to argue with that…

Zach Bryan is fully self-produced, a first for the Oklahoma native, which he shared in an Instagram post last night was very much intentional and meaningful, saying:

“I wrote and produced an album that I would want to listen to. I self-titled it because I hear every cell of my being in it.”

He explained, in part, that fans should take the album for what it is, and that there’s no “grand explanation” for each of them.

You can read the full statement below:

“On the album: I’ve got no grand explanation for these songs, I got no riddle in reasoning behind writing them, I don’t have a bullshit roll-out plan to stuff it in front of as many people as I can. I just wrote some poems and songs that I want to share because I think they’re special.

Some of them are heavy, some of them are hopeful, but more than anything what’s most important to me is that they’re all mine. If people listen to it, I’ll be grateful, if people don’t I’ll still be grateful because I got the chance in this life to be original when it mattered.

I’d like to say that I do not take any of this for granted. As some kid with a guitar from Okla, I am so grateful for each person that cares enough… All I pray is that someone out there relates enough to not feel alone. I wrote and produced an album that I would want to listen to.

I self titled it because I hear every cell of my being in it… I put everything I could in it and I am at a loss for words at what a blessing this life is.”

I love that line about being “original when it mattered,” and it’s certainly representative of his musical journey thus far and what’s put him in this position in the first place.

The tracklist for Zach Bryan also has a surprising four features in total from The War & Treaty, Sierra Ferrell, Kacey Musgraves and The Lumineers, which is also the order in which they appear on the album.

Considering that Zach doesn’t write with anyone else, and rarely works with other artists when it comes to singing his own songs (aside from the Maggie Rogers duet “Dawns” he released much earlier this year), I was shocked to see four separate acts would appear on the record.

In my opinion, each of those songs are the easy standouts, and it’s really cool and super fun to hear him singing with such talented and well-respected fellow country artists and then some.

And while I’m always an advocate for listening to the album in the order in which the artist arranges it, I’ve included some of my very early favorites below.


“East Side of Sorrow”

This one finds Zach thinking back on being 18 years old and getting started in the Navy, as he reflects on his life back then and some of his journey in questioning God and why some things happened the way they did.

He also throws in a cool reference to the Turnpike Troubadours getting back together, and funny enough, they dropped their first album almost six years on the same day, which is pretty cool:

“If you ever get the time,
Come on home,
I heard Turnpike’s back together
And they’re writing songs”

“Hey Driver (feat. The War and Treaty)”

“Hey Driver” features the incredible husband and wife duo The War and Treaty, consisting of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Trotter, and their impeccable vocals as they sing about going home to a place where “they still put sugar in their iced tea.”

I’m biased, but that’s always the place I wanna go too, and this one has already been on repeat:

“Holy Roller (feat. Sierra Ferrell)”

The harmonies on “Holy Roller” are everything I hoped they would be and more. Zach and Sierra Ferrell sound so damn good together, and I only wish she could’ve taken over at least one verse on her own and made it more of a duet as opposed to mostly singing background vocals.

Either way, it’s a great song, and I hope we’ll get to hear more of them together down the road. “Holy Roller” more upbeat (for lack of a better word) production, and definitely breaks up the tracklist in a nice way right in the middle of the pack.

“Jake’s Piano – Long Island”

The arrangement on this song is beautiful, and the heavy piano backing is perfect. There’s just something about his vocals herer and the overall sound on this one that stood out to me.

“I Remember Everything (feat. Kacey Musgraves)”

The features on this album really are the standouts, in my opinion. I fell in love with this song immediately when Zach teased a little acoustic video of it on Instagram solo, and I was beyond thrilled to learn that Kacey Musgraves, one of my all-time favorite artists, was singing on it with him.

It finds the narrators reminiscing on a past relationship and admitting that they remember every little moment and fleeting evening they spent together:

“Cold shoulder at closing time,
You were begging me to stay ’til the sun rose,
Strange words come out of a grown man’s mouth
When his mind’s broke

Pictures and passing time
You only smile like that when you’re drinking
Wish I didn’t but I do
Remember every moment from the night’s with you”

There’s something so forlorn and magical, yet heartbreaking about it, and I simply cannot get enough. If I had to pick one single favorite, it would be this song. I was hoping that I would be able to say I love it as much as I do, and I’m happy to report that I am, quite literally, obsessed.

Kacey’s pure and beautiful voice contrasts so beautifully with Zach’s more gruff, raw vocals, and I think this could be the frontrunner for duet of the year…

“Spotless (feat. The Lumineers)”

This one features Zach teaming up with one of his favorite bands, The Lumineers, in what is a very full-circle moment for Mr. Bryan… they’ve certainly come a long way since Zach sent them a DM to check out his music in 2016 (and they left him on read, funny enough).

Zach is going to co-headline the Pilgrimage festival alongside The Lumineers this September, and while they’re scheduled to perform on different days, maybe there’s a perfect world where we’ll get a live duet or something.

Again, it’s another stellar feature, and I hope Zach will continue to work with artists that he loves in the future, because they’re truly some of the best songs on the record.

“Oklahoma Son”

A perfect album closer, “Oklahoma Son” finds Zach missing his home state of Oklahoma and owning up to the fact that, no matter where life takes him, he can’t hide his roots and he’ll always be an Okie boy at heart.

“You can’t hide where you’re from,
With nightcrawler blood on your casting phone,
You can fight and fiend and sell your guns,
But you’ll always be the Oklahoma son”

I think most of us can agree that there’s simply no place like home, whatever that means to you, and with the crazy journey Zach has been on over the last several years, it’s understandable that he clearly has a deep longing to be back in Oklahoma where he can truly be himself.

It’s been so fun as a music fan to watch Zach go from filming grainy videos on his iPhone back in 2019 while he was still serving in the Navy, to now releasing his second major label record.

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. Whether you like him or not, an artist like Zach that resonates so genuinely and profoundly doesn’t come along very often.

Over the last four years since he put out his first album DeAnn, Zach has signed the aforementioned record deal, gone on tour selling out shows all over the country, and only continued to grow his fan base and put out more music than just about anybody in the process.

You don’t come by an album so genuinely real and authentic to who an artist, or really a person, is very often, and his introspective writing and storytelling captures every emotion and thought so beautifully in these songs that it seems pretty impossible not to love.

In my opinion, it’s a tighter, more concise evolution of American Heartbreak, but is very true to his songwriting roots and why most of us are fans of him to begin with. I don’t think he’s going to have any fans mad because he “changed his sound” or “sold out” with this project.

It has more depth and maturity than his major label debut in a lot of ways, and he manages to take his feelings about so many different things across a wide spectrum and pack it into songs that get to the point and have a bit more variety due to the aforementioned featured artists.

Zach self-titling the record because he hears “every cell of [his] being in it” feels a bit hyperbolic, in true Zach fashion if we’re being real, but I think it’s still a very honest statement and extremely representative of this place in his life.

It’s hard to say anything about Zach or his rapid rise to success and fame that hasn’t already been said a hundred different ways, but at the end of the day, the reason it’s all happened this way is because the music is always true to who he is and what he feels, the good, bad and ugly.

In a world, and industry, where appearances are unfortunately everything, Zach pulls the curtain back and gives fans something very real and authentic to hold tight to and connect deeply with, which is exactly what country music should be.

Zach Bryan tracklist:

1. “Fear & Friday’s (poem)”
2. “Overtime”
3. “Summertime’s Close”
4. “East Side of Sorrow”
5. “Hey Driver (ft. War and Treaty)”
6. “Fear and Friday’s”
7. “Ticking”
8. “Holy Roller (ft. Sierra Ferrell)”
9.  “Jake’s Piano/ Long Island”
10. “El Dorado”
11. “I Remember Everything (ft. Kacey Musgraves)”
12. “Tourniquet”
13. “Spotless (ft. The Lumineers)”
14. “Tradesman”
15. “Smaller Acts”
16. “Oklahoma Son”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock