Behind the Meaning of “The Good I’ll Do” by Zach Bryan

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Just three years after releasing his debut album DeAnn, country singer and songwriter Zach Bryan’s career is on the rise. The Oklahoma native’s most impressive collection of songs is centered around his 2022 breakthrough album American Heartbreak, featuring the ballad “The Good I’ll Do.”

Love can change everything. That’s what Bryan is trying to get across in “The Good I’ll Do.” A pure love song filled with his own distinct imagery, “The Good I’ll Do” explores how finding the right partner can make you a better person, which Bryan reminds us of in his refrain of Well, in you, I’m new.

Bryan winds his lyrics around the sights, the smell and the feel of true love.

The way the grass smells at night
And you’ve got flames all in your eyes
As they reflect the sparkler
And you say we’ll never die
Grab me by the hands
Just as callused as I am
Say your proud

Living in America

Running just over two hours, American Heartbreak boasts 34 tracks, including the breakthrough hit “Something in the Orange” and singles “Oklahoma City,” “From Austin” and “Late July.” The album was certified gold in less than six months and debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200.

Produced by Eddie Spear, Louie Nice, and Ryan Hadlock and written entirely by Bryan, American Heartbreak is a culmination of five years of songs inspired by the artist’s life and love.

“I would say true love of anything is supposed to rip your heart out and put it back together all in the same go round,” said Bryan on the meaning of the album in a statement. “This album to me is all the trials we face day-in and day out and I wrote all the stories on it hoping someone, somewhere might relate or some kid might pick up an instrument and replicate it in an effort to be an artist.”

Bryan added, “Some songs are sad, some are happy, some are hopeful, and some are hopeless, all of them mean something different to me and I pray they mean something to someone else. American Heartbreak is my effort at trying to explain what being a 26-year-old man in America is like. There’s love, loss, revelry, resentment, and forgiveness all wrapped into one piece of work.” 

Well, there’s blue jeans in the driveway
And you’re walking inside sideways
The wine always affects you in beautiful kind ways
Ask me if I’m staying and I say that I’m sleeping on the floor

Won’t you tell me that you need me
‘Cause lately I’ve been needing someone to remind me
I’m worth more than just an evening
I awoke to kitchen smoke, you dancin’ like God’s moved in you before

From the Navy to the Grand Ole Opry

Born in Japan, where his family was deployed in the U.S. Navy, Bryan grew up in Oologah, Oklahoma, and later joined the military branch himself. In between serving active duty in the Navy for seven years, Bryan continued writing songs, even sharing some on YouTube in 2017. By 2019, Bryan released his debut DeAnn, dedicated to his mother, and follow up with Elisabeth in 2020, which he recorded in a barn near his home.

In 2021, Bryan was honorably discharged at the age of 25 after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Soon after, he made his Grand Ole Opry debut and signed to Warner Records.

Yellowstone

“The Good I’ll Do” was featured in the fourth episode of season five of the Paramount+ series Yellowstone and can be heard playing as the Poison Creek and Yellowstone wranglers are driving their cattle to get branded.  

Photos: Courtesy of Warner Records

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