Zach Bryan On Why He Didn’t Work w/ Dave Cobb on New Album

Viral songwriter Zach Bryan released his second album on Friday, May 8th called Elisabeth to mostly rave reviews, but some criticisms for taking the same homespun approach he brought to his first album DeAnn. Without any label or representation whatsoever, Zach Bryan and DeAnn blew up into an overnight sensation, receiving millions of streams, and launching a serious music career to where managers, labels, and producers were lining up left and right to work with the Tulsa native.

Along with signing with manager Danny Kang and gaining touring representation with WME, Zach Bryan was also sighted working with Dave Cobb in late November, 2019. Dave Cobb is the Grammy-winning producer known for working with artists such as Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell, Colter Wall, and others. That is why some were surprised when Zach recorded Elisabeth with the same crew of close friends that he did his first record. The making of the new album was captured in a 45-minute documentary about the process where Zach explained in detail why he chose loyalty to his friends over a different, more professional approach to the process.

But one thing the documentary doesn’t touch on is just how much Zach Bryan’s continued commitment as a full-time Navy enlistee precluded him from being able to take a different approach to making the new album.

“I legitimately work 12 hours a day, every day besides the weekend, so the ‘rough around the edges’ sound kind of came from a lack of time, not a disrespect to proper releases,” Zach Bryan explains to Saving Country Music. “I didn’t work with Dave Cobb because I couldn’t get the leave from the Navy to record a full fledged record with him the ways I wanted to. That was all, Cobb and I are still close and he is still willing to record a record with me, but time restraints have kept us from it.”

Elisabeth was recorded in a makeshift studio built in a horse barn in Washington State where Zach Bryan is stationed.

Zach Bryan told Saving Country Music in early September, 2019 after the release of his first album, “My old man was in the Navy, my grandpa was in the Navy, my mom was in the Navy. My family’s just a Navy family … and I love being in the Navy. I think I might just keep being in the Navy and writing songs, and that’s about it—keep writing music that people might like. People have asked me to go on these tours and these mini tours in Texas, and I just can’t. It makes me feel terrible and I wish I could, but God has a way of doing things, and I think he’s doing it right.”

But for those hoping for Zach Bryan to release a properly-produced studio record in the future, that’s not out of the question. “The next album I do will (probably) be a fully produced, proper record,” Zach says. “But I’m also not willing to apologize to anyone for writing and releasing however the hell I want.”

And with the reception Zach Bryan has received so far for his music, and the sense of loyalty he has to his close friends who helped him record now two well-received records while continuing to uphold his commitments to the Navy, no apologies should be needed.

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