GRAMMY CHEW: THERE'S "SOMETHING" ABOUT ZACH BRYAN

Nashville never saw Zach Bryan coming. But that hasn’t stopped the raw-knuckled roots writer from racking up huge streams with his album American Heartbreak and its breakout and still-growing single, “Something in the Orange.” With Heartbreak certified gold and “Orange” platinum, Bryan sits at 2.4 billion career streams—and he’s not slowing down.

The fourth-generation Navy man, who served three tours of duty, recorded Heartbreak at Electric Lady Studios in NYC following his honorable discharge. But he built his audience by recording his wrenching songs in Airbnbs while on leave and filming the clip for “Orange” outside his barracks on an iPhone. Like Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard before him, Bryan peels back hard emotions to reveal the pain, defeat and defiance of working-class kids who won’t buckle.

Playing to 50k+ fans at ACL Fest, Bryan demonstrated why he’s among this year’s most buzzed-about new artists of any genre. An enormous set at Bonnaroo and appearances on Luke Combs’ huge stadium tour have supplemented his sold-out headlining shows, where fans jam sidewalks outside just in case they can slide in. Bryan is also known for hanging with the fans, hearing about their lives and what his music means to them.

The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica penned a massive profile, while the publication's Popcast explored the singer-songwriter's “old-fashioned artistry and 1990s attitude, the shifts in mainstream country music that have in part set the table for his rise and how genre boundaries serve as guideposts, even for artists who assiduously try to skirt them.”

Rolling Stone proclaimed Bryan “a star from the jump, gaining country’s biggest debut week of 2022 with the triple album.” He quickly followed Heartbreak with the Summertime Blues EP, inspired by a motorcycle wreck, which recalls another intense songwriter, Bob Dylan. Beyond Country category nods, don’t be surprised to see Bryan land in the Big Four.

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