Jacob Bryant has a couple of good women to thank for his life and country music career. The Keith WhitleyGeorge Jones and Travis Tritt-raised, Georgia-born country-rocker knows one saved his artist soul, and the other saved his life.

That's not an exaggeration — Bryant's mother is the one who really encouraged him to chase music, even though he figured she was just being a mom-ager at the time. You'll hear her influence all over his new Practice What I Preach album, streaming on Taste of Country on Thursday (Feb. 7) ahead of a Feb. 8 release. The single "Bring You Back" was written as a love song, but the well-traveled indie artist admits he recorded it because it reminds him of mom. "Hot Mess" is a smartly-penned track about the struggles of a single mother — his mother.

"I've always been a mama's boy, and it's my kind of thank you to all the moms who give a damn about their kids," Bryant tells ToC, chuckling a sort of admission that the title is purposely bro-y, while knowing the content is deep enough anchor you as a fan for life. If you're living this song in any way, it's a tear-jerker.

"Sometimes I Pray" was written about his mom specifically and is the song he says defines him.

"'Pour Whiskey on My Grave' was another one that I didn’t write, but every year I go pour a beer out and sit out on my mom's tombstone and have a beer with her," the newcomer shares. He'll speak candidly about the circumstances of her January 2010 passing as best he can. She was only in her 40s.

"We don't really know. She fell asleep and didn't wake up," Bryant says.

Like his No. 1 contemporary influence Brantley Gilbert, Bryant packs the chapters of his life into guitar-heavy country-rock ballads and anthems. It's impossible to ignore his more authentic country raising on songs like "25 in Jail" (a true story, but not his story), a rambler that song-checks Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried."

American Roots Records

Find personal similarities between Bryant and both Gilbert and Haggard. He's not afraid to show his scars, even if he isn't proud of all of them. Alcohol and a drug problem got him through the difficult times after his mother's death. Throw a busted marriage in there for good measure. Speaking to him, know it's clear things are different. He'll still enjoy a cold beer, but his mind is focused and his words sharp.

"My fiancee now ... I would definitely give her the kudos for saving my life," he admits. "It was time to slow down and grow up. I think I just met my quota."

Days of hard partying led to days of hard work. Bryant took a break from an at-home drywall project to talk to Taste of Country and mentioned how his girlfriend of four years has a vanity and bathroom tile project waiting on his honey-do list. They'll get married in spring 2020. It's a safe bet he'll lose the indie artist label by then, as well.

Listen to Jacob Bryant's Practice What I Preach Album:

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