Nobody called anybody “Insurrection Barbie.” However, the recent internet argument sweeping country music is no less dramatic than that previous war of words. The digital rumble between Zach Bryan and Rich O’Toole seems less venomous and somewhat more lighthearted than that story though.
Zach Bryan likely needs no introduction to the Outsider crowd. Arguably no one in country music is doing it better than him right now. In addition to his hugely popular album American Heartbreak and the corresponding cross-country tour he tore up earlier this year, Bryan’s music has also been featured prominently on the TV show Yellowstone.
Rich O’Toole is less well-known, but a talented musician in his own right. His most recognizable song is probably God & George Strait. He’s a very intelligent and funny guy who’s not afraid to share his hot takes online.
Rich O’Toole Sets Country Music Social Media On Fire By Calling Out Zach Bryan
Sunday night’s episode of Yellowstone featured footage of Zach Bryan performing two of his newer songs, Motorcycle Drive By and Summertime Blues. After the episode, Bryan posted a grateful message thanking the show for continuing to feature some of his music.
Then O’Toole headed over to Twitter to raise some questions.
The accusation was surprising. Especially considering the fact that it also seems like the riff that O’Toole referenced sounds just as much like he might have lifted it from either Kiss Me In The Dark by Randy Rogers or Tell It To My Heart by Taylor Dayne. That was something music fans in the comment section were quick to point out.
Zach Bryan Claps Back, Hilariously Trolls Rich O’Toole
Zach Bryan, understandably proud of the art he’s created, quickly clapped back at Rich O’Toole. He initially responded by claiming that O’Toole had “exposed” him. He then went on to very sarcastically explain that “yes the song I wrote after telling my girlfriend and best friends I loved them after a near-death accident on a motorcycle this year was a rip off of Rich O’Toole’s ‘Take My Heart.'”
Now the songs certainly do sound similar at certain inflection points. But there are only so many chords to be plucked on a guitar, so it’s feasible that these two talented guys both just strummed up their own ideas by themselves.
However, Zach Bryan has one of the most ruthlessly devoted fanbases on the internet. It didn’t take long for them to start ripping into O’Toole on Twitter. By the next morning, he had to ask Bryan to call off the rabid followers that were apparently fighting to defend his honor. O’Toole summed up that part of the story with a hilarious meme that explains it better than I can.
The funniest part of the whole exchange came on Monday afternoon though. That’s when Bryan shared a hilarious video clip of him and some guy in an awesome Cincinnati Bengals throwback sweatshirt just cruising down the road. They were absolutely thumping the speakers to O’Toole’s song Take My Heart and rocking out at full volume.
It was an A+ troll job. But it apparently also helped bring more awareness to the song. In the aftermath of the whole fiasco, O’Toole revealed that the song he accused Zach Bryan of ripping off had quickly racked up an unprecedented number of streams.
Meanwhile, Bryan’s song Motorcycle Drive By is now the #1 country song on the iTunes chart. While that can be mostly attributed to the Yellowstone bump, the hilarious back and forth with O’Toole may have also helped.
Cooler Heads Prevailed, The Jokes Continued
Instead of letting the dumb internet spat turn toxic, cooler heads eventually prevailed. O’Toole semi-apologized and tried to clarify his original comment, claiming he was not trying to diss Bryan. Bryan gave O’Toole a shoutout and explained that at no point in the argument was he trying to be personally disrespectful to his musical colleague.
Zach Bryan seemingly ended the chaotic dialogue with a mic drop by spreading the all-important message “Make Twitter Funny Again.”