I’ve said before that Kentucky has a prospering music scene these days with both up and coming talents, such as Tyler Childers, to so called “country music saviors” like Sturgill Simpson and the great Chris Knight. On May 1, 2014 Tyler Childers officially released his second EP, Live On Red Barn Radio II, four songs captured live on Kentucky’s legendary radio show featuring Tyler and his guitar--no more, no less. The record serves as a follow up to the EP Live On Red Barn Radio from the fall of 2013, a record that featured Childers with a full backing string band, The Highwall. There is a feeling I call “eargasms” when you hear the first few moments of a song and you feel that ephemeral rush through your scalp, moving towards your frontal lobe and then the hair on your neck takes to standing up straight. I got that rush on the first few notes of “Rock Salt and Nails” even before that voice takes on the rasp-tinged high notes that is/or will be his trademark. For such a young guy his song writing transcends the obstacle of age. He truly writes as an old soul but keeping the subject matter personal and true to self. It’s definitely the voice that gives off that vibe.
“Coming Down” is a beautifully crafted sad song about loneliness and drink written by John R. Miller of The Fox Hunt and Prison Book Club. “Everyday’s another pointless job and every night another lonesome song”, be damned if that doesn't strike a nerve on you. Although a cover it's still a prime example of Tyler's prowess as both a performer and guitar player. “Follow You To Virgie” is the up-tempo ballad on this EP despite it being about the loss of a beloved mountain beauty and the mourning process thereafter. It’s superbly heart-felt and provokes your emotions way down deep unless you’re a heartless bastard. Live On Red Barn Radio II rounds out with the title track of Tyler Childers full length album Bottles and Bibles. A five minute plus country song of a drinking preacher and the leaving of his wife, we all know “it’s a hard way to go on the straight and narrow”. That being said, Kentucky’s own musical revival is in full force right now. Tyler Childers will soon be at the forefront of that with the Sturgills and Knights and Fifth On The Floors as long as he keeps releasing solid country gold like these songs. Get on over to his bandcamp site at the link below and get yourself both Live On Red Barn Radio EPs for less than you paid for lunch today. You will not be disappointed and all the better for it.
+Words: Scott Zuppardo+