Zach Bryan did it again. Bryan released his newest EP “Boys of Faith” abruptly on Sept. 22.
The EP, released just weeks after his self-titled album “Zach Bryan”, was met with raving reviews. His top song from the album “I Remember Everything (feat. Kacey Muskgraves)” has already collected 68 million streams on Spotify in less than a month.
“Boys of Faith” is a collection of 5 songs, featuring tracks with folk artists Noah Kahan and Bon Iver. While the EP is only 16 minutes long, listeners can’t help but feel Bryan’s lyrics wholly and wish for more.
The EP starts with “Nine Ball”, featuring a folksy americana harmonica intro and bluesy bass riff that sets up the emotional tone for the rest of the song. The song explores the faith and encouragement his father bestowed upon him, betting on his son to be a successful man.
The song’s chorus goes “My father was a betting man / But I got myself a steady hand / He’s sitting in the corner with a six pack of Corona / Betting that his son will win again”.
Bryan’s humble beginnings often reveal itself within his lyrics — a Navymen from Oklahoma working on his shot to share his lyrics with the world, fully supported and admired by his father.
Bryan teased fans on Sept. 18, with excerpts of collaborations with Noah Kahan and Bon Iver. This collaboration was met with hints of criticism by fans who fear Bryan’s newest releases are straying from his original country music style.
“Sarah’s Place (feat. Noah Kahan)” still highlights Bryans original folk and country roots. The song is heavily supported by percussion and acoustic guitar often found in Bryan’s previous songs.
The song’s chorus goes, “Don’t come back lover, I’m proud you’re under the skyline / We always knew you were the better half of our good times”.
Noah Kahan and Zach Bryan are known for their uncanny ability to portray complex emotions through their lyrics.. “Sarah’s Place” explores the feelings of moving on from a past love and still admiring them from afar.
The collaboration of the two up and coming folk artists of this generation created a captivating song. Kahan and Bryan’s rough voices singing these vulnerable lyrics creates an odd feeling in listeners, a feeling that every human can relate to and proves that not all love songs are pretty and delicate.
The third song, named after the album, “Boys of Faith (feat. Bon Iver)” explores the feelings of brotherhood and companionship. The song opens with a slow bass riff and the audio of a dog barking, creating a sense of nostalgia within the first few seconds of the song.
The first pre-chorus of the song goes; “You said I gave your heart somethin’ to believe in / ‘Cause boys like us fade away / But you stuck around when I was down / And I’ll owe you all my days”.
Bon Iver’s lead singer, Justin Vernon and Zach Bryan’s voices harmonize to produce an overwhelming sense of gratitude regarding close friends and the vulnerability of loving someone.
Vernon’s higher pitched voice matched with Bryan’s harsher voice is audibly captivating. Vernon’s typical use of softer synths and whispered lyrics is still highlighted within the song, only mashed with Bryan’s southern style.
The fourth song on the EP, “Deep Satin”, is more true to Bryan’s traditional style. With the implementation of trumpets and persistent drum beats, Bryan emphasizes the feelings of a painful breakup and the feelings of spite and sorrow that often follow.
The song’s chorus goes; “When you see the lights, when you hear the rain / There ain’t a chance you’re thinkin’ of me”.
Bryan begins the song softly, with the softer and poetic lyrics fans associate with his music. Though the song quickly advances to Bryan nearly shouting the lyrics, only emphasizing the raw lyrics he’s sharing.
The final song of the album, “Pain, Sweet, Pain”, initially returns back to Bryan’s thoughtful and tender music style. The song then uses a fast drumming beat and fiddle, creating a sense of urgency to his lyrics that detail the feelings of being tired and the sadness that comes with leaving home.
The first verse of the song ends with “We’ve lost so much faith through time, can’t remember them / How looking at the stars in the valley tend to lend a man hope / Have you wishing all the highways from this point on lead home”.
The song leaves a pit in the listeners chest as Bryan perfectly depicts the feelings of growing up and leaving home, only to wonder if you got lost along your way.
Bryan has rapidly earned his spot as one of the most influential songwriters of this generation, creating songs that not only sound good, but also highlight the uncomfortable and complex feelings that landmark the human experience.
Zach Bryan is not done yet and has gathered the eyes and ears of millions waiting for what he writes next.