APPALACHIAN COUNTRY SQUIRE TYLER IGNITES HOUSE FIRE
“You see this train I'm riding/ it's burning up the coal/ and its wheels are bound to roll right by you/ honey, won't you jump my train/ you can set my house on fire, baby/ you can turn it into cinder and smoke/ because this house is mighty cold and I feel like/ melting all the snow away.” - House Fire - Tyler Childers.
It's no surprise that Kentucky coal-miner's son Tyler Childers ignited sales charts with his third album Country Squire released on August 2.
Childers, just 28, proved at his St Kilda Palais concert on March 7 with former Chicago postie and fellow 2018 and 2019 Americana awards winner John Prine, now 72, that he was the real deal.
Tyler 's music jumped genres with a tasty flourish when the late culinary TV host Anthony Bourdain used his songs when he featured West Virginia on his Parts Unknown special in April, 2018.
Childers' soulful country-bluegrass-folk hybrid was the perfect soundtrack for Bourdain's special on Appalachian cooking and culture and a catalyst for frequent Nu Country TV appearances.
Tyler shares his Kentucky roots with fellow Coalminer's daughters and sons Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, Patty Loveless, Pistol Annie Angaleena Presley and bluegrass reared prolific Grammy winning chart topper Chris Stapleton.
Childers and singing spouse Senora May appeared on Nu Country TV in July with a live version of Snipe Hunt , that he showcased at The Palais , from his second album Purgatory.
Senora also appears this week in his new video for House Fire - first single on Country Squire on his RCA imprint Hickman Holler Records , released here by Sony.
Casey Campbell from fellow Americana band Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Hustle guest in the clip.
Sturgill Simpson produced the dynamic disc at the Butcher Shoppe in Nashville and adds backing vocals while Tyler settles for acoustic guitar.
Guests include lauded fiddler-mandolinist-banjo player Stuart Duncan, Russ Pahl on guitar, pedal steel, dobro and baritone, drummer Miles Miller, bassist David Roe and Mike Rojas on piano, accordion, clavinet and pianist Bobby Wood on harmonium.
Childers also appeared on Nu Country with videos for Bus Route , I Swear To God, Feathered Indians and Whitehouse Road and also Harlan Road performed by bluegrass state band Newtown.
COUNTRY SQUIRE ON FIRE
“Well tonight I'm up in Chillicothe/ downwind from the papermill/ I'm out here spitting on the sidewalk/ taking in the factory smells/ heaven knows, she tends to smoking out the window/ in the air that gas pipe leak/ I wonder if she's cringing at the same time/ thinking pretty thoughts of me/ spending my nights in a bar room, Lord/ turning them songs into two-by-fours/ dreaming about the day that I'm sitting by the fire/ huddled with my honey in her Country Squire.” - Country Squire - Tyler Childers.
At 19 he released his debut album Bottles and Bibles and appeared throughout Kentucky and West Virginia.
Childers became a regional phenomenon and signed to Thirty Tigers before he created Hickman Holler Records.
MATTHEW BIBLICAL BAGHDAD BATTLER
“Works the night shift at the depot/ and he guards them rusted missiles/ counting whitetail to pass the time/ and he's worked there for a long while/ since he came home from overseas/ helping Kilcorn fight the good fight/ and bring Baghdad to its knees/ and he'd go out on the weekends/ and he played like Clarence White/ Clarence, but had a real job/ picked the guitar when there was time.” - Matthew - Tyler Childers.
It's been a colourful journey from the Appalachians to the ocean and way beyond to Europe, Scandinavia and Australia but this sardonic singer makes every mile fuel his milieu.
Childers proves from his title track entrée - riveting reflection of life on the long, lonesome country circuit - to road tested social comment finale Matthew that he digs deep for his song sources.
The country squire is not an English land baron but a 53-year-old 20-foot-long camper van that is towed and transports singers through darkness and light from town to town for bar gigs and arena and hall concerts and festivals.
Tyler also resurrected childhood memories for the bucolic belle he first kissed in historic homily Bus Route.
And the singer delves into the frequent retreat of drinking, drugging and chasing fleeting romance with sultry strangers far from home in his homage to a fellow rural rooted hombre in the powerful Creeker.
But it's a penchant for missing a more mature maiden from afar in the luxurious but lonely New England hotel that primes pathos in the evocative Ever Loving Hand - a poignant pitstop on Childers Lost Highway.
And a life weary pair of parents enduring the perils of history repeating with their children drives the credible creation of a faithful railroad worker and Avon selling spouse in Peace Of Mind .
Childers even borrows a line Texan troubadour Robert Earl Keen's Highwaymen hit The Road Goes On Forever in the wry word play of Gemini.
“The road goes on forever, the party it will tend/ to run forever if ya never let it end.”
No need to credit Keen - especially when Tyler extends his highway imagery in his passionate paean to everlasting love, replete with the memory of road cones and embryonic prayer locales - in another road song All Your'N.
Childers vibrant videogenic narratives are littered with motel and hotel names and other salient signposts of a journey he once only dreamed of.
It gives many listeners and viewers an accessible entry to his music that demands a return tour here.
And a chance to share his view of the fastest growing sub-genre of country music.
Here is how Childers explains it.
He was brutally frank when he accepted his first Americana award for emerging artist.
“As a man who identifies as a country music singer, I feel Americana ain't no part of nothing,” Childers said.
“It is a distraction from the issues that we are facing on a bigger level as country music singers. It kind of feels like Purgatory .”
But a year later he was more expansive.
“I hope that people in the area that I grew up in find something they can relate to,” Childers said about Country Squire and his touring to promote it.
“I hope that I'm doing my people justice and I hope that maybe someone from somewhere else can get a glimpse of the life of a Kentucky boy.”
Childers says Americana is “a place to recognize people being ignored by their own genres, but now it's a hindrance. The stuff we used to call good country is now getting called Americana . We've not fixed the problem of bad country.”