It’s been nearly two year since Jacob Bryant released his debut album, Practice What I Preach as an independent artist. Against the odds, the album topped the iTunes country album chart in the states. It was awesome. That was the first time we had ever had a number one on iTunes, we ended up charting on Billboard as well without any direct radio play, which was super cool.
Fast forward to February 2021 and Bryant has teamed up with Snakefarm Records to rerelease the album to the UK market in the form of a deluxe edition with 5 UK excusive tracks. We caught up with Jacob this week to find out more about the artist, who in his own words describes his sound as Country done my way! It’s too country for rock and too rock for country. It rides right in the middle. For the original release, Jacob looked back to previous EP’s for some of the tracks while also adding new unreleased tracks. The first taste of what was to come from Bryant on this album was the release of Whiskey on my Grave back in 2018. Since its release, it has gained over 8 million streams on Spotify and the official video has 7.2 million. Although not written by Bryant, he sticks by one point when picking tracks They have to be about life experiences that I’ve been through. It’s hard for me to cut stuff that’s fictional. Pour Whiskey on my Grave, even though I didn’t write it, is something I do every year when I go to my mums grave and pour a beer out and sit there and drink a beer with her. It was one of those things that made me think I should have written it even though I didn’t. I was really happy when we got in touch with Jamie Grooms, the guy who wrote it, and ended up putting it on the album. I think a lot of people can relate to it with any kind of loss of life in close family or friends. As well as having that edginess, giving it a hard-hitting country rock mix. Its definitely a unique tune.
Bryant’s unique sound has certainly stuck with fans as he currently has just under 250,000 monthly listeners on Spotify Yes, it’s the grind. Up until signing with Snakefarm we haven’t had any label help, it was just me and my manager doing everything. It’s really cool to see the fruits of you labour after all the hard work. We worked on the album for over two years before we ever released it. A lot of sweat equity went in on the front end. Although, it is almost the album that never was It’s kind of crazy as it almost got stole from us. My producers house got vandalised and they stole the hard drives that had all the master files on it. Luckily he had backed up some MP3’s that weren’t completely done but close enough to save the project. If he hadn’t have done that we would have lost 2 years worth of work. I do not think I’ve ever come as close to fainting in my entire life than at that point when he phoned me and told me. I want to pass out, it scared me but it was awesome to get the album done and put out for the fans. It was received really well even though it was a little rough and not perfect as we weren’t able to put the finishing touches on it – we just released it the way it was. It was really cool to debut at number on eon iTunes. I am very blessed to have the fans loving it as well.
As the listener numbers continued to grow State side, Bryant caught the attention of Snakefarm Records and Universal this side of the pond as he now joins a roster that includes Eric Church and The Brothers Osborne. It’s really cool, I look up to those guys, especially Eric Church and a lot of those dudes I’ve followed their careers to see how they’ve done it. Their artists tend to ride on that grittier edge of country with the rock mixed into their music like I have. It’s a cool little group to be in. We never did a whole lot of marketing for the album when it was released in the UK as we didn’t have the contacts to do so. We were approached by Snakefarm and Universal as they really liked the we project. Together we decided we wanted to do something special for the UK specific release so we decided to add these tracks to the original album and we are all super stoked to get it out there and see how the fans receive it.
Bryant now finds himself in the fortunate position of being able to look back at his work from his early EP’s and appreciate the direction his music has moved in. I would just tell myself to be who you are and play the music you love, not just the stuff that will fit in and get played on Country Radio. Back then we were cutting stuff that leaned more towards the modern radio country and now as I’ve grown up and evolved as an artist I have figured out who I am and play stuff that is a little more edgy and 100% who I am. People want real. If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing then people aren’t going to like it either. I just focus on writing tunes that I like and I feel that people can also relate to. On looking back to if the message in the album has changed Bryant told us I think the album title – Practice What You Preach – still rains true with me with everything going crazy in the world and people hating one another. I think that is one that brings people together and allows me to remind myself of my morals.
The deluxe release comes off the back of one of the hardest years the music industry has ever faced. While much of Europe remains in lockdown, Bryant is one of the lucky one as he can head back out on the tour bus and start getting dates in the diary. It is awesome, I’ve missed doing it during this whole pandemic. The shows are starting to trickle back in and we are getting to be on the tour bus and getting the chance to enjoy what we love to do. It was definitely different. I miss the human interaction for sure. I have always felt pretty comfortable on stage and it is a lot easier for me to sing in front of 30,000 people than 3 or 4 people. I have never really been nervous on stage but for something when it is very intimate, even in front of family, I am a nervous wreck. The livestream thing was all a bit weird for me but at the same time I am glad that outlet was there for the fans to be able to stay in touch with me. I played a lot of golf and rode my Harley a lot. I got the Harley last year, so I rode it quite a bit. I was able to spend plenty of time with the wife and daughter and getting to watch her grow up by learning how to walk and talk in that time has been really cool. I’m a big family guy and trying to get back into the groove of things but I definitely miss the wife and my daughter.
Tour dates and live shows seem a distant memory right now for many of us and upcoming dates keep getting pushed back, but Bryant is keeping an eye on the goings on this side of the Atlantic so he can come and make his mark As soon as this pandemic irons itself out we are going to be over there and do some touring and radio touring for the fans so we can focus even further on getting the music out over there. I’ve asked people about venues and people have said as soon as I can come over to give them a call and they can help me out which is so supportive.