Artist - Zach Bryan 27
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'The Great American Bar Scene' by Zach Bryan – Lyrics & Meaning

March 14, 2024 7:50 pm GMT

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Zach Bryan – 'The Great American Bar Scene'

Live Debut Date: March 5th, 2024

Official Release Date: TBC*

*Expected to appear on Zach Bryan's forthcoming studio album in 2024

The Background:

Zach Bryan didn't disappoint during the opening night of his Quittin' Time Tour.

Taking the stage at Chicago's United Center on Tuesday, March 5, the 'Something in the Orange' artist wowed fans with a hefty 26-song set, as well as a surprise appearance from his 'I Remember Everything' duet partner, Kacey Musgraves.

In the mix of his beloved hits, the star shared a handful of unreleased tracks, one being the long-teased 'Better Days' and the other being the highly-suspected titled track of his forthcoming album, 'The Great American Bar Scene.'

Little is known about this particular track, but Holler has dug deep to find out everything there is to know about the soon-to-be Bryan hit.

The Sound:

Captured in a fan-recorded video, the early March showcase of 'The Great American Bar Scene' left much to be desired as many concert-caught videos do.

However, from the song's live debut, it seems like the acoustic offering begins in the Bryan fashion, gently strummed and softly sang. The song builds in the refrain where Bryan lays it all out, peppering his words with strums and lap steel.

From there, matter-of-fact, yet vivid storytelling paint a portrait of dive bar nights during which betting, fighting and boozing are merely means of getting by.

The Meaning:

"I lost my money to some dirty old bookie
Way up in Philly, he was a bad man
But you can't bet your life on the table
When you've got yourself a bad hand
So I went and got my good friend Mickey
And we made ourselves a bold stand
Wound up bleeding on the bar floor
We don't bet on the ball no more"

The song opens on a dingy scene in which a gamble has gone bad. The narrator has lost money on a bet, and from the blunder, he takes away one trusty lesson: "You can't bet your life on the table / When you've got yourself a bad hand."

Instead of accepting his losses, however, he rallies his good friend Mickey for a fight, but winds up "bleeding on the bar floor" anyway.

"Where them bets are tough and bartenders mean
In the great American bar scene"

In the refrain, Bryan sums it all up to the way of life in "the great American bar scene." Throughout the song, he continues to sprinkle in hard-earned wisdoms he's collected through his time in this scene.

He sings about a brother's arrest and not being a rat or falling in love and it falling apart. In the end, he's just:

Trying like hell[?] to keep my health
Treat others well and understand
Why life's so unfair and uncertain and mean
In the great American bar scene

What has Zach Bryan said about ‘The Great American Bar Scene’?

While it seems Bryan has been teasing songs left and right, very little concrete information has been revealed about 'The Great American Bar Scene.'

Its story, inspiration and official release, the artist has kept much of that under lock and key. Now, with his social media activity having gone dark, we may just have to wait for the album.

For the full lyrics to Zach Bryan's ‘The Great American Bar Scene’, see below:

I lost my money to some dirty old bookie
Way up in Philly, he was a bad man
But you can't bet your life on the table
When you've got yourself a bad hand
So I went and got my good friend Mickey
And we made ourselves a bold stand
Wound up bleeding on the bar floor
We don't bet on the ball no more

Where them bets are tough and bartenders mean
In the great American bar scene

My brother from Tulsa has got himself a warrant
But he's on the run up in Cheyenne
They hammered me up and asked me some questions
But I hate no damn rat[?] man
Put cuffs on so tight that he started bleeding
From his wrist down to, to his right hand

Put 'State Trooper' up on the record machine
In the great American bar scene

Neon lightnin', wooden floors, light leaves
As her feet quietly slide across
Tough boys of all, they came and went
She's a Heaven-sent and I'm at a loss

So if you've got the time, I've got the quarter
And a two-steppin' song called 'Hey Porter'
Why does love always feel like a fever dream
In the great American bar scene?

Trying like hell[?] to keep my health
Treat others well and understand
Why life's so unfair and uncertain and mean
In the great American bar scene

*The following lyrics are taken from a live performance of an unreleased song and are subject to speculation

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For more on Zach Bryan, see below:

Written by Alli Patton
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