Norman Warwick notices that
ZACH BRYAN BAGS BIG AWARDS
In an article published in Sidetracks and Detours last week I boasted about ´already´ having some Zach Bryan (left) music on my personal playlists. I suppose I made it sound as if he had just burst on to the scene and I was perhaps I was a bit ahead of the game in listening to him so soon. However, almost immediately after we had gone to press I learned I had actually comae late to the party !
So, let me apologise and give you a slightly more accurate account.
Zach Bryan has made Billboard Music Award (BBMA) history as the first country artist to win Top New Artist in the history of the awards. Bryan beat out Jelly Roll, (right) Bailey Zimmerman, Ice Spice, and Peso Pluma for the Top New Artist win. The country singer and songwriter also picked three awards in the rock categories, including Top Rock Artist, Top Rock Album for American Heartbreak, and Top Country Song for his 2022 hit “Something in the Orange.”
Along with his win for Top Rock Song for “Something in the Orange,” Bryan was nominated a second time in the category for “I Remember Everything,” featuring Kacey Musgraves. (left) Bryan is also up for Top Male Artist and is up against Morgan Wallen and Luke Combs, which would also be another first for a country artist winning in the category.
His other 2023 nominations include Top Male Artist, Top Country Artist, Top Male Country Artist, Top Country Album for American Heartbreak, and Top Streaming Songs Artist. He was also nominated in the new BBMA categories Top Hot 100 Songwriter, and Top Hot 100 Producer, which was awarded to Joey Moi earlier in the evening.
Released in May 2022, Bryan’s third album American Heartbreak (righjt) went to No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country and Top Rock Albums charts, while single “Something in the Orange” topped the Country and Rock charts, and peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100
In 2017, Bryan began uploading his music on YouTube and went viral with his song “Heading South.” The Oklahoma singer and songwriter released his debut album DeAnn—dedicated to his late mother—in 2019, and follow-up to Elisabeth, a year later. Both albums were released while Bryan was still active in the U.S. Navy.
Bryan recently released his fourth eponymous album in 2023, which went to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Country, Rock, and Folk charts. His Musgraves collaboration from the album, “I Remember Everything,” also topped the Billboard Hot 100, along with the Country and Rock charts.
Weaved into the 34 tracks of American Heartbreak, “Something In The Orange” talks about a longing love and heartache, but it was mostly inspired by a stunning sunset Bryan caught one night.
“Everyone thinks it was over some deep, dark thing, and it was just me in a cabin in Wisconsin,” said Bryan. “I thought about the word ‘orange’ and I was watching the sunset and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a cool story to tell in a song.’”
In the song, the narrator has come to terms with the end of the relationship, though he still tries to fool himself into thinking there’s still a glimmer of hope
Something in the orange tells me we’re not done
And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
Cause if I say I miss you I know that you won’t
But I miss you in the mornings when I see the sun
Something in the orange tells me we’re not done
To you I’m just a man, to me you’re all I am
Where the hell am I supposed to go?I poisoned myself again
Something in the orange tells me you’re never coming home
Metaphorically, the sunset, “The Orange,” stands for the end of his love affair.
If you leave today, I’ll just stare at the way
The orange touches all things around
The grass, trees and dew, how I just hate you
Please turn those headlights around
There are two versions of “Something In The Orange.” There’s a more somber, stripped-back “Something In the Orange” recorded at Electric Lady Studio in New York City and produced and mixed by Eddie Spear, dubbed the Z & E (stands for Zach and Eddie) version. The second is a sweeping rendition with strings and piano, produced and mixed by Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studio in Washington State.
Produced by Eddie Spear, Louie Nice, and Ryan Hadlock and written entirely by Bryan, American Heartbreak is a culmination of five years of songs inspired by the artist’s life and love with other hits, including “The Good I’ll Do,” “Highway Boys” and the chart-topping “From Austin.”
“Something In The Orange” also reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance.
“I would say true love of anything is supposed to rip your heart out and put it back together all in the same go-round,” said Bryan on the meaning of the album in a statement. “This album to me is all the trials we face day in and day out and I wrote all the stories on it hoping someone, somewhere might relate or some kid might pick up an instrument and replicate it in an effort to be an artist.”
Bryan added, “Some songs are sad, some are happy, some are hopeful, and some are hopeless, all of them mean something different to me and I pray they mean something to someone else. American Heartbreak is my effort at trying to explain what being a 26-year-old man in America is like. There’s love, loss, revelry, resentment, and forgiveness all wrapped into one piece of work.”