Bryan is a storyteller, documenting the experience of the poor, the downtrodden, the blue-collar, the soldier after service, the weary, the fucked up and the often forgotten. His music IS the American experience for so many people. A Navy veteran who left the service to pursue his music career, Bryan epitomises the “American Dream”.
There was a buzz in the air for the entire day as his headline set at Two Step Inn approached. Everyone was excited to see the greats, of course - but you knew who they were really there for.
Zach kicked his set into gear with ‘Open the Gate’, ‘Godspeed’ and ‘Highway Boys’. He had his usual grit and gusto but it wasn’t until halfway through when Read Connolly whispered in his ears that the electricity we all expected turned on. Zach metamorphosed from a nervous Oklahoma kid on his largest stage using in-ears for the very first time to a country music star.
Throughout ‘Dawns’ and ‘Something in the Orange’ there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd. The first time I heard ‘Something in the Orange’ I was driving down an Alabama dirt road, windows down, with the warm humid air enveloping me like a hug. I was moved to tears back then, and last night, covered in dust, surrounded by people embracing the moment with the same veracity as me, I was moved to tears again.
By the time the set was over and the boys came back for the encore, the crowd was rowdy and the band kept growing larger with Zach’s friends joining him on stage. A breathtaking performance of ‘Revival’ kept the night going until fireworks ushered us out into the Georgetown night.
Zach Bryan is country music’s most unexpected legend in the making. At only 27 years old, he has seen more of the darkness life offers than some of the most seasoned country artists. And now he’s getting to bask in the light that he has created through his own hard-work and tenacity.
Zach Bryan - Setlist
Take from his set at Two Step Inn Festival, Georgetown, Texas - Saturday, April 15, 2023:
Photos by Laura Ord
For more coverage from Two Step Inn, see below: