Sound Advice: Tyler Childers with John Prine at Taft Theatre (June 9)

If you're going to see legendary songwriter John Prine this weekend, don't get there late — Tyler Childers has emerged as one of this decade's finest Americana artists

Jun 5, 2018 at 1:07 pm

click to enlarge Tyler Childers - Photo: David McClister
Photo: David McClister
Tyler Childers
My first exposure to Tyler Childers didn’t involve his rousing, gritty voice or the oh-so-familiar Country music that backs him. My introduction came from lyrics posted on Facebook — like the ones we used in melodramatic away messages in the days of AOL. Childers’ lyricism spoke to some old concert buddies, who shared his words and caught my attention. Who was this poet that wrote so intimately of our own feelings? The phrase, “I was out of my mind the first night we met,” reeled me in and propelled me from social media to search engine. Where was Childers going with a line like that?

“Honky Tonk Flame,” from his debut album Purgatory, turned out to be only the very beginning of an obsession that left me and so many other fans diving deep into one song and then another. His writing is moving on its own but coupled with his voice, his music is transcendent. Cliché? Maybe. But, also, accurate. Not all of his fans have grown up splashing in canals or experimenting with cocaine. Yet he still manages to take listeners to those summer days of play and those buzzing nights of searching for more. He’ll get you there on pure imagery and tone alone.

This makes sense given how well he knows those scenes. When CityBeat writer Gregory Gaston caught up with him last year, we learned about Childers’ childhood in Eastern Kentucky, not too terribly far from here. Mixing his Gospel upbringing with his youthful obsession with rebel Country, Childers created a sound too gnarly and unique to ignore. He’s rambled his way across the country and back a few times now, gathering moments and experiences along the way. Only time will tell where Childers will take listeners next.

Click here for tickets/more show info.