Zach Bryan Launches 2023 Tour at Two Step Inn Fest

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This weekend’s Two Step Inn Festival in Georgetown, TX (just north of Austin) is a big test for the true appeal of country artists not regularly found on corporate radio. Could you really throw a major festival with upwards of half a hundred thousand folks and have Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers headline? The fact that the festival sold out almost immediately answered that question rather quickly. If anything, there are too many fans, and not enough space for them.

Not only is the Two Step Inn the first festival to have arguably the #1 and #2 biggest artists in independent country headlining. It’s also unique because both Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers are commencing their highly-anticipated 2023 tours at the fest. Granted, Childers has played a few European shows and a theater gig in New Orleans to get warmed up. But for Zach Bryan, Saturday night (4-15) was the big start to his tour where he’s attempting to take it to Ticketmaster.

Zach Bryan’s popularity just continues to grow exponentially. Hell, he probably could have headlined Coachella in California this weekend. Yet even though the population of Zach Bryan fans continues to swell, the passion of those fans has not waned or been diluted whatsoever. Even though he’s released nearly half a hundred songs over the last year, fans from 14 to 60 are still singing every single word, to every single song, like a singer/songwriter version of Beatlemania.

Zach Bryan continues to pad his recent but prolific catalog, but he plays 17 songs at a festival and every one of them seems so vital to his career. Of course he played signature songs that helped launch his meteoric rise like “Godspeed,” “Condemned,” and “Heading South,” more recent hits like “Oklahoma Smokeshow” and “Something in the Orange”—the latter that continues to creep up the country radio charts.

But he also threw in a few wild cards, namely “Dawns” that he recorded with Maggie Rogers as a one-off earlier this year. Zach said he didn’t know if it was exactly appropriate for a country festival, but he wanted to play it anyway, and it was the first time he’d featured it live. Zach also played “Flying or Crying” because it references his fellow Two Step Inn headliner Tyler Childers, who will cap off Sunday night. And then later in the set he welcomed regular tour partner and recent Big Loud Records signee Charles Wesley Godwin to the stage.

“I wrote a song and he sang it better than I did,” Zach said about Godwin before they paired up on a rendition of “Jamie.” The two also appeared together earlier in the day during Charles Wesley Godwin’s Two Step Inn set set singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Charles Wesley Godwin, and multiple players for Godwin’s backing band The Allegheny High also took the stage after the encore to help Zach and his band perform perhaps the most epic rendition of the song “Revival” that has ever been performed. At one point there were a good 15-16 people on stage, including a couple of random folks (maybe fan club guys?) who sang a few lines, Joe Rogan was spotted in the wings, as well as Godwin’s guitar player Al Torrence, while steel guitar player/multi-instrumentalist Read Connolly played the entire set with Zach Bryan.

Right after the final note was struck, an unexpected fireworks show erupted for behind the stage, underscoring how much Georgetown, TX has committed to making Two Step Inn a memorable event.

What we’re witnessing right now with Zach Bryan is something future generations will look back upon with envy—how we got to see Zach Bryan in his heyday when everything was new, fresh, and exciting. Country music is whatever country fans are listening to in a given era. And right now, they’re listening to Zach Bryan, even though they continue to have to seek out his music as opposed to it finding them through mass media.

And now that Zach Bryan has reached levels we’ve never seen from any artist not of Music Row’s creation from any era, the only question left is, “Where does it go from here?”

Set List:

1. Open The Gate
2. Godspeed
3. From Austin
4. Quittin’ Time
5. Highway Boys
6. Heading South
7. The Good I’ll Do
8. Heavy Eyes
9. Dawns
10. Oklahoma Smokeshow
11. Something in the Orange
12. Flying or Crying
13. Snow
14. Condemned
15. Jamie (with Charles Wesley Godwin)
16. Burn, Burn, Burn

Encore:

17. Revival (with Charles Wesley Godwin and The Allegheny High)

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All photos Kyle “Trigger” Coroneos

Charles Wesley Godwin with Zach Bryan
Read Connolly played with Zach Bryan for the full set
Zach Bryan’s Band
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