NASHVILLE, Tennessee Jacob Bryant has suffered more highs and lows in his 31 years than most people experience in a lifetime. He started in music as a young child and it would be music that would ultimately bring him back to where he is today.
At eight years, Bryant was given a guitar. His grandparents had formed a bluegrass band when he was growing up and he and his sister would sit on the front porch and pick guitar and sing bluegrass.
“Out in the middle of nowhere, where we were at, there was nothing to do other than play music.”
In the mountains of North Georgia, his grandparents had an apple orchard and a catfish hatchery.
He recalled, “We had these big get-togethers and I kind of grew up watching the older folks that I looked up to playing music. I got in the mindset that I was going to be like them.
And while he learned to play, he never considered singing for a career. He led the praise and worship for his church and was a youth leader as well.
Simultaneously he was working a night shift job, drinking lots of energy drinks while still trying to do his music. Bryant had a chemically induced heart attack at age 19 brought on by lack of sleep and excessive Red Bull consumption.
Bryant immediately gave up all caffeine but unfortunately, shortly thereafter, his mother suddenly passed. This put the Georgia boy in a tailspin that was instead fueled by cocaine and alcohol.
He states, “It’s nothing to brag about but if I drank a Coca-cola, my chest would vibrate and I would be all hyped up but I could do a line of cocaine and go to bed. It just didn’t affect me the way it did most people. It actually kind of calmed me down.”
He eventually got off the cocaine and laid the liquor down completely and got himself in check where is now able to have a couple of beers without it being an additive thing.
Amid his turmoil, he began singing and songwriting including a tune he co-wrote in with Luke Combs entitled “Out There.” He confirms, “Luke is like me, we’re unapologetically who we are and we don’t care if you like it or not. If somebody says we can’t, it just puts more fire under us to go and prove them wrong.”
Bryant’s most popular song to date is “Pour Whiskey on My Grave” with nearly 9 million views on YouTube alone and nearly 10 million streams on Spotify. Other past hits include the songs, “Save My Soul,” “This Side of Sober,” “Best Part Of Me Is You,” “Sometimes I Pray,” and “25 In Jail,” which are largely autobiographical except, he muses, “I’ve never been to jail. I’ve been extremely lucky and knew a couple of sheriffs.”
In the past, Bryant was a true road warrior who spent hundreds of thousands of miles on the road playing in honky-tonks, fairs, and even the Mother Church of Country Music, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
Bryant recently signed with Thirty Tigers and his label mates include the late John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell, and the 400 Unit, and Whiskey Myers to name a few. Luke Combs’ “Hurricane” was released on this label as well. He expounds, “It’s a great camp to be in, (producer) David Macias, Zack and Matt and all those guys over there have been nothing but helpful and extremely uplifting.”
Even with all his success, his best music has yet to come if his recently released “Devil and An Old Six String” is any indication.
With lyrics Made this life harder than it had to be / Married and divorced by the time I was 23/ Hooked on the bright lights, the nightlife and the party crowd / What kinda woman would want to hang around/ But I need these neon lights / ‘Cause that’s the only damned thing that gets me high/ If I barely make it in on a broken wing/ Blame it on the devil and my old six-string the songwriter states the lyrics are completely true.
Since his daughter was born two years he “hammered down and tried to get a hold of all of it instead of masking it and thinking I was alright.”
He states that his current wife, Brittany, kind of “saved my life, jerked my butt in gear, and helped me get going. There was definitely backsliding going through that journey and the divorce.” The song “Can’t Take an Angel to Hell” off his forthcoming Bar Stool Preacher record is about that time.
As with so many songwriters, hard times inspire meaningful and relatable song lyrics. The crooner confesses, “I hate it that every time I am on stage, I’ve got to sing a song about my mom dying but a couple of them are the tunes that the fans like the most. If it were up to me I wouldn’t play them at all but if it helps somebody out there in the crowd going through something I went through… I know I wished I could have heard someone say something like that when I needed it.”
With his ability to be completely honest and vulnerable with his lyrics along with his deep, velvety, powerhouse vocals, his avid and expanding fan base will be drawn to his newest music like moths to a flame.
Due out in January 2022, fans can preorder the record Bar Stool Preacher and they will instantly receive “Devil & an Old Six String” as well as “Amen,” “Can’t Say No to You,” “Baptized by the River” and “Good Ol’ Boy (UK Rock Remix).”
In conclusion, Bryant reiterates, “Music is healing. As simple as that sounds, the process of creating my art about the life experiences I have had is my therapy. From writing the songs, recording, mixing, and mastering to finally seeing a finished product in my hands has been extremely therapeutic for me.”
I have heard the album Bar Stool Preachers. It is one that you will want to play over and over again. I am just grateful that he has allowed us to be part of his journey.
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