While fans of alternative country star Zach Bryan are applauding his new EP “Boys Of Faith” which features folk stars Bon Iver and Noah Kahan, some are criticizing his choice to release it on the same day as his longtime opening act, Charles Wesley Godwin, dropped his much anticipated album “Family Ties.”
Bryan has rapidly risen to fame both within country music and beyond. His genre blending country, folk, and Americana songwriting paired with his soulful voice and relatable lyrics have cemented him a musical mainstay. His track “Something In The Orange” sparked a viral TikTok trend in 2022, soundtracking videos for people going through breakups and humorous parodies alike.
Tag a friend you would never want to lose in the comments ♥️ #18
Many felt that Bryan’s collaborations with Kahan and Iver were a great creative choice, given that all three artists uniquely tap into American nostalgia in different regions of the country, and have notorious Autumnal tinged hits in “Stick Season” and “Roslyn,” respectively.
While many appreciated the quality and well fitting features on the EP, some felt its release date was insensitive to Godwin, another rising name in country music. Godwin has opened for Bryan on tour for a long time, and the pair frequently share the stage.
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The singer has made a name for himself for his every-man approach to songwriting, humble beginnings, liberal-leanings, and defense of the trans community amid a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in southern America. Since his beginnings, his most recent full length self-titled album “Zach Bryan” featured a number of collaborations with other acclaimed artists, from The Lumineers to Kacey Musgraves.
“Zach Bryan” dropped a matter of weeks ago, making the EP, “Boys Of Faith”, both a welcome surprise and one with what some felt was suspicious timing.
Zach Bryan when one of his friends tells him their album release date. ???? pic.twitter.com/kp6C3ttByY
— friendscallmeJay (@Jaypotta) September 22, 2023
Others felt that there was nothing suspicious about it, and that Bryan is fairly new to the industry, meaning that it likely was not purposeful.
Cut him a break. He’s a 27 year old kid
— Jackson Kelly (@TheJacksonKelly) September 22, 2023
Despite the sentiment that Bryan betrayed his friend, the burgeoning country star was sure to give Godwin’s album a shoutout.
STRIKE ME DOWN.. pic.twitter.com/Y68HOLhJZD
— Zach Bryan (@zachlanebryan) September 22, 2023
Kahan later shared a glimpse into his creative process with Bryan on their duet “Sarah’s Place.” The New England bases singer-songwriter called Bryan’s work “everything” he has “always loved about music.”
.@zachlanebryan, beyond honored you thought of me friend. The record is so great. Your writing represents everything I’ve always loved about music. I’m beyond grateful to play any part of your story brother
— Noah Kahan (@NoahKahan) September 22, 2023
Bon Iver also chimed in and stated that they were “proud” to be featured on Bryan’s EP. The group, led by Justin Vernon, is known for their work on the “Twilight” franchise soundtracks, and duets with Taylor Swift on her “folklore” and “evermore” albums.
Proud to be featured on the title track from @zachlanebryan’s EP ‘Boys of Faith’.
— Bon Iver (@boniver) September 22, 2023
Neither of the collaborators mentioned Godwin’s album, leading some original country fans to accuse Bryan of selling out to the music industry.
Here’s a take that really isn’t that crazy but the internet will hate:
Charles Wesley Godwin is significantly better than Zach Bryan
— evan (@evanmlapointe) September 22, 2023
Others felt that all the releases were good, and encouraged listeners to celebrate a great music Friday and not pit the two singer-songwriters against one another.
Charles Wesley God & Zach Bryan on the same day. Today should be a holiday.
— Cullen Bohannon (@NotJKLMcClure) September 22, 2023
Godwin is yet to comment on the simultaneous release dates.