Country Music Poet Reaches City Fan Base


Katrina Paisano

Zach Bryan, a pillar of modern country music, released a new album in late-August.

Zach Bryan released his fourth studio album on August 25. Bryan, a country singer, had a breakout summer, selling out multiple festivals and shows. This was his first album release since 2022.

Bryan released his debut album,“DeAnn,” in 2019. He recorded it while he was serving in the Navy in an Airbnb in Jacksonville, Florida. To improve the sound quality, he lined the walls with mattresses. Filled with symbolic lyrics describing the sorrow he felt about his mother’s passing, the album introduced the world to Bryan’s musical style: deep poetry belted out by Bryan, accompanied by simple instrumentals.

The new album, called “Zach Bryan,” was fully produced and written by Bryan himself. It is 15 songs (four of which feature other artists), one poem, and has a total run time of 54 minutes. This album, not unlike his other music, could be described as poetry set to music. Bryan’s self-titled album is brimming with meaningful and imaginative lyrics, telling stories and sharing worries.

Senior Katie Hallinan said, “I loved his new album. I think it’s pretty profound that he wrote and produced the whole album himself.”

“I think it is an amazing album. I love it so much,” said sophomore Chase Miller.

I am a country music fanatic and longtime fan of Bryan’s—I’ve been listening to his music since his first album. I personally believe that this album is a lyrical masterpiece. The lyrics sometimes feel as if he is telling his listeners his deepest, darkest secrets. It was melancholic yet hopeful.

Musically, I really enjoyed the simplicity of it, a signature Bryan move. This album was much more reminiscent of his early music, with the addition of electric guitar and horns, which is new this time around. My favorite songs from this album include “Oklahoman Son,” “El Dorado,” “Fear and Friday’s,” “Ticking,” and “East Side of Sorrow.” I particularly liked these songs because they felt the most “country” of the entire album.

Bryan is changing the country music scene for the better. Popular country seems to be finally leaving its era of country influenced by pop and rap. With this change comes new fans, brought to the genre by Bryan.

“Zach Bryan made me like country music,” sophomore Caitlin Creevy said.

This album has been an immediate success and has earned the number one spot on the Billboard 200, and his song “I Remember Everything,” featuring Kacey Musgraves, has earned him his first number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Katie said, “Zach Bryan is getting more traction and fans, but I truly think this album will be his breakthrough.”

The album and its accompanying tour seem to have put Bryan in the limelight. There has been such high demand for tickets that he added additional concert dates to many of his tour stops, Chicago being one of them. This album serves as a great introduction to Zach Bryan (and general country music) for new fans. It has all the aspects of great country music: anecdotes, poetic lyrics, and a simple and traditional country sound. I think everyone should listen to this album, country fan or not. In fact, I believe his lyrics should be analyzed in every English class taught at Latin. I’m excited to see what Bryan does next in his career and how his tour will pan out.