Album - The Great American Bar Scene - Zach Bryan
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'Bass Boat' by Zach Bryan - Lyrics & Meaning

July 4, 2024 10:05 am GMT
Last Edited July 9, 2024 2:53 pm GMT

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Zach Bryan - ‘Lucky Enough’

Label: Belting Bronco Records / Warner Records

Release Date: July 4th, 2024

Album: The Great American Bar Scene

Producer: Zach Bryan

Live Debut: N/A

The Background:

With recording for The Great American Bar Scene beginning at the famous Electric Lady Studios in New York in February 2024, Zach Bryan, alongside Jake Weinberg, Gabe Wax, Jacquire King and Dawson March, proceeded to record the album during Zach's Quittin' Time Tour.

According to Wax, through a post on social media, Bryan, Weinberg and himself ended up recording "the majority of it on the road: hotel rooms, houses, arena back rooms and one at my studio Infinite Family 818".

First heard upon release of his fifth studio album The Great American Bar Scene on July 4th, 'Bass Boat' is the 12th track on the 19-song collection.

The Sound:

Carried by a swell of playful piano and tender harmonies, 'Bass Boat' rides a wave of vocal lines, much like the boat Bryan mentions within the song.

Throughout the song, everything feels like its trying to maintain a sense of restraint and control - the spritely keys trill and briefly effervesce, before being struck by a deeper, sudden chord.

Bryan's delivery in particular sounds deeply influenced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver - the way he carries the harmony with his deep baritone in such a composed fashion, while evoking emotion from the song on the whole, is reminiscent of the Wisconsin songwriter.

The Meaning:

My old man bought a big bass boat
When I think of that summer of hope I choke
Cause even if we didn’t catch a little bit of something
We’d park that boat by the bluff at the days inn

Bryan is made emotional by the thought of an old, perhaps childhood, memory. He's struck by it because, no matter whether they caught a fish or not, they'd spend the day out by the cliff, seemingly a happy trip for the songwriter. It's a reminder that the journey is just as important as the goal.

I got a need to find trouble when things are alright
I pine for pain in the morning light
And even with my baby sitting next to me
I’m a self sabotaging suicide machine

As humans, we're naturally wired to find the worst in ourselves or bring ourselves down. It's hard to train yourself out of that routine, and sometimes everything that brings you joy can't bring you out of that thought process. No matter how beautiful the day is or how calming having a lover sat next to you is, your mind sometimes doesn't allow you to simply embrace that for what it is.

‘Cause I was raised by a woman who was hardly impressed
And I carry that shit real deep in my chest
‘Cause I ain’t ever been one for cheap excuses
And apologies have always been a little late or useless
But if you give me four minutes and a little ‘bit of time
I’ll make them old days an old friend of mine
And I can talk to God and I can pray all day,
But you can’t heal something that you never raised

The song feels like a three minute therapy session for the songwriter, one where he questions his faith and how much he ponders over old memories. Bryan sings of being worn down by growing up under the influence of family, carrying the desire to make others happy into adulthood because he felt like he was never able to move those who brought him up.

And you’re going, going, going,
On Thanksgiving day when, you’re sneaking off to drink some alcohol,
And you’ll show them, show them, show them
While you’re kissing all the knees of
Every scrape and every bloody fall

Following on from the previous verse, Bryan's challenging someones indiscretions, potentially his own or the person he's talking to, as they try to show the caring side of their personality. This person is trying to show they are a good parent, while battling with their own vulnerabilities.

My old man bought a big bass boat
When I think of that summer of hope I choke
Cause even if we didn’t catch a little bit of something
We’d park that boat by the bluff at the days end

What has Zach Bryan said about ‘Bass Boat’?

Sharing a post on X on the morning of the release of The Great American Bar Scene, Bryan revealed who the guest vocalist that can be heard on 'Bass Boat' is: "The back up on 'Bass Boat' is my photographer, Louie Nice's fiancé Morgan Meinhart, she was on American Heartbreak with me as well and these two people are my family and my people".

"It's an honour to make music with people who have been around forever in your life" Bryan closed.

For the full lyrics to Zach Bryan's ‘Bass Boat’, see below:

My old man bought a big bass boat
When I think of that summer of hope I choke
Cause even if we didn’t catch a little bit of something
We’d park that boat by the bluff at the days inn

I got a need to find trouble when things are alright
I pine for pain in the morning light
And even with my baby sitting next to me
I’m a self sabotaging suicide machine

And you’re going, going, going,
‘Til the Lord calls you home in
Your work boots and your worn coveralls
And you’ll show them, show them, show them,
With your high collateral loan on
That home where your children play with dolls

‘Cause I was raised by a woman who was hardly impressed
And I carry that shit real deep in my chest
‘Cause I ain’t ever been one for cheap excuses
And apologies have always been a little late or useless
But if you give me four minutes and a little ‘bit of time
I’ll make them old days an old friend of mine
And I can talk to God and I can pray all day,
But you can’t heal something that you never raised

And you’re going, going, going,
On Thanksgiving day when, you’re sneaking off to drink some alcohol,
And you’ll show them, show them, show them
While you’re kissing all the knees of
Every scrape and every bloody fall

My old man bought a big bass boat
When I think of that summer of hope I choke
Cause even if we didn’t catch a little bit of something
We’d park that boat by the bluff at the days end

--

For more on Zach Bryan, see below:

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Written by Ross Jones
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