Zach Bryan simply cannot miss it seems. Bryan’s new EP, Summertime Blues, perfectly encapsulates the hidden sadness many feel even as the sun shines bright outside. Bryan’s ability to cut through the noise and deliver his message directly to his audience is also on full display on the brand new nine track project. Bryan’s penchant for bare bones honesty resonates even deeper on Summertime Blues than it did on Bryan’s 34 track album, American Heartbreak released earlier this year. Bryan, has already cemented his place as country’s buzziest outsider, but recently has been able to gain mainstream traction as well, and the beautiful, and earthySummertime Blues should only continue that.
Bryan’s ability to go back and forth between raspy and smooth voiced throughout the project is a true delight, and shows off his ability to articulate the full range of emotions behind his songs. Quittin’ Time is a great example of this, as Bryan’s longing voice tells the story of a man longing to get off work and spend time with his love, away from the smoldering heat he’s been in all day. Jamie which features Charles Wesley Godwin is a truly beautiful yet haunting track. Once again, Bryan is longing, only this time it’s for a love that has passed away, unable to escape these loving feelings, Bryan admits that he’d be fine joining her and laying down beside her,even though he has so much life left to live. Motorcycle Drive By and Oklahoma Smokeshow stick out as personal favorites for me, the lyrics of both cut deep and Bryan’s vocal is at it’s finest as he ponders life and love throughout these two pristine tracks.
Matt and Audie is the coolest song concept on the project, as Bryan steps into the shoes of a third person storyteller, and tells the story of a couple doing everything they can scrape by and live a happy life together, even if it ultimately means cutting some corners and breaking some laws. Us Then is reflective and introspective, as Bryan feels lost without the love he used to hold and just wants to go back to Us Then. Twenty So reflects on the not so sweet times that the 20s often turn out to be, and Bryan is able to explain this unexpected pain in a way that only he can. The title track and All The Time both search for happiness amidst the anger and despair all around, Bryan, feeling blue is simply searching for a way out of the hole he finds himself in.
Summertime Blues is a truly fantastic project, and allows Bryan to continue his long held momentum, as he continues to push himself into mainstream circles, all while holding true to his outlaw tendencies.