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A plaintive, quivering country troubadour indebted to the literary side of Red Dirt Country -- he wrote a song saluting Evan Felker of the Turnpike Troubadours, one of the genre's leading lights of the 2010s -- Zach Bryan began carving out a career for himself while he was still enlisted in the Navy. He recorded his 2019 debut DeAnn during a break in his service and it, along with videos he posted online, helped him cultivate an audience that crested with the 2020 release of Elisabeth and its accompanying single "Heading South." A native of Oklahoma, spending time in both Oologah and Tulsa, Zach Bryan received his first guitar at the age of 14. Soon he learned how to play, then started to write songs. When he came of age, Bryan enlisted in the Navy, just like his parents before him and his father's father before that. During his spare time in the service, he wrote songs. While on leave, he spent some time relaxing at an Airbnb in Jacksonville, Florida. He and his friends spontaneously decided to record the songs that became his 2019 debut DeAnn; he named the album after his late mother. DeAnn earned positive buzz among Red Dirt aficionados, so Bryan decided to record a second album in the same fashion. Featuring the single "Heading South," the resulting Elisabeth appeared in 2020. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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