Album Review – Tyler Childers – “Take My Hounds to Heaven”
The album Purgatory by Tyler Childers will go down in history as one of the most important and successful releases by any country music artist in the last ten years, and perhaps in history. Over five years removed from its release, it’s still a regular in the Top 20 of the country albums charts, well above releases from mainstream performers released much more recently, and all from an artist that has never received any significant mainstream radio play or attention.
But now it’s time for Tyler’s Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven? to attempt to grip our attention. And to hopefully increase his odds, Tyler has presented this release in a three-act, three-disc, or three-lp set, depending on your preferred method of music consumption. This expanded format release is not especially uncommon in country music these days. In fact, it’s kind of the fad. It worked out swimmingly for Morgan Wallen, who is affixed at the very top of the Billboard Country Albums chart with his 30-song Dangerous: The Double Album, and with no signs of relinquishing that position anytime soon. Right beneath him is Zach Bryan with his 34-song behemoth American Heartbreak.
But more tracks don’t always translate into more success. Eric Church released a triple album while he was the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year called Heart & Soul. It petered out rather quickly compared to Morgan Wallen and Zach Bryan. Cody Johnson’s Human: The Double Album also had a valiant run, but is nowhere near the top 20 on a perennial basis like Tyler’s Purgatory is.
But Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? is a bit unique because it’s three albums of the same eight songs. Well, its two albums of virtually the same songs, and then “something else” that will be addressed in due course. The other disadvantage is that of those eight songs, one is a cover of “Old Country Church” by Hank Williams, another is a new rendition of Tyler’s own song “Purgatory,” two are instrumentals (at least in their initial incarnation) that also feel more like interludes as opposed to truly original tracks, and one track is the title song of the album, which anyone who’s been listening to Tyler Childers at this point has heard half a dozen times either live or in videos.
This leaves the Tyler Childers listener with really only three truly new tunes on a 3-disc, 24-song album. These include “Triune God,” which Tyler has also been featuring in concert for a while, “Heart You’ve Been Tendin’, and the lead single, “Angel Band,” which we also heard before the album was released. So really, when you crack open this package, there is only one song you’ve never heard before … in a 24-song set.
Furthermore, the second versions of these songs that appear on the second disc of the album called “Jubilee” aren’t totally separate renditions of these songs. They’re basically the same track as on the first disc that’s called “Hallelujah,” just with extra overdubbed production add-ons, such as horn sections, or sometimes ambient dialog from vintage recordings. So as you continue to parse through the tracks of this release, it’s like whittling a walking stick down until all you’re left with is a toothpick of truly original, novel material. Meanwhile, Childers has featured songs live such as “Percheron Mules,” “Luke Chapter 2 Verses 8-10,” and his version of “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” by Bob Weir that could have better completed this effort into a cohesive expression.
With that cold reality out of the way though, what you do get on this album is a selection of eight very tasty tracks well worthy of the public’s attention. Take My Hounds to Heaven comes at a time when Tyler Childers and his long-time backing band The Food Stamps have gone from a gritty, Appalachian-inspired folk-oriented country band, to a sweaty, greasy, groove and thump-based country funk outfit indicative of peak Jerry Reed.
Instead of “The Professor” Jesse Wells primarily playing fiddle, and steel guitar player James Barker sitting down behind the console, they’re both part of a double electric guitar attack, with the newest Food Stamp CJ Cain now handling acoustic guitar duties. Embellish this with strings and keys in certain spots, and the music of Take My Hounds to Heaven rises to the inspired aspect of the material.
The band’s live cover of the Charlie Daniels Band “Trudy” and “Tulsa Turnaround” by Kenny Rogers have become the anchors of Tyler’s live performances. Taking that same tact to these new tracks, and interweaving it with the Gospel-esque approach to the material, Tyler Childers and The Food Stamps turn in a very sumptuous set of mid-tempo tunes that raise the spirit, satisfy the heart, and entertain the soul.
This is not a “Gospel” record per se—meaning material that adheres to the New Testament account of the life of Jesus Christ at a 51% level or above. The instrumental tracks disqualify if from that distinction. The album also presents a somewhat unusual dichotomy for some listeners, and on both sides of the religious divide. For the devoted, the sentiments shared here will be nowhere near pure enough, despite songs like “Triune God” and “Old Country Church,” because a song like “Angel Band” presents a universalist message. Meanwhile, those turned off by religious sentiments entirely may also find a disfavorable view toward the album due to the presence of devoutly religious material.
This “neither fish nor foul” aspect in some ways neuters the attempt here by Tyler Childers to either present religious notions to an agnostic audience in a way that illustrates the beauty and promise Christian teachings can confer to individuals aligned with Tyler’s own evolved beliefs, while also failing to open the hearts and minds of more religious listeners to a more universal notion of God and Heaven.
Then there is the third disc of the set, named “Joyful Noise.” Though some, or perhaps many listeners will say this is an envelope-pushing and inventive approach to music, they do so in the same way you act elated whenever someone presents you with a gift due to social behavior norms, even if the gift in fact repulses you. In a word, the third installment of Take My Hounds to Heaven by Tyler Childers is rank bullshit, and insult toward the audience, and irredeemable as anything aside from filler and/or file 86 material.
Despite the track titles, these final tracks are not third renditions of the initial songs, though a couple of them like “Way of the Triune God” do employ samples from the original songs. Instead, they are extremely novice and elementary attempts at sequencing and sampling that result in inhospitable noise that in no way could ever be characterized as “Joyful,” if for no other reason than the dark aspect of the material’s mood.
Eerily similar to the opening tracks of Tyler’s last album Long Violent History with its very rudimentary fiddle playing on traditional tunes, this third disc stuff is truly unfit for human consumption on a commercial level. Granted, on Long Violent History, these tracks more of a setup for Tyler’s social commentary, and so it was forgivable. But in this instance where it’s being used to bolster an album project that vinyl purchasers are spending upwards of $60 to acquire isn’t just abusive to the audience, its a borderline grift.
Granted, plenty of proponents of Childers will pipe up, saying this opinion is one of uncultured country fans who don’t want their favorite artists to evolve. But working with samples and drum machines is not an “evolved” state of music in 2022. It is the most conformist thing you can do. Refusing to allow your music to be corrupted by 1’s and 0’s, that is what is on the bleeding edge, that is what is revolutionary in 2022. That is also the reason Tyler Childers has become one of the most popular and beloved artists in all of country music, because he embraced the authenticity people were hungry for, and that the mainstream was dramatically underserving.
The only way to justify whatever is happening on the third disc of this album is if in six months Tyler Childers grants an interview where he states he just wanted out of his contract with RCA Records, and this was the way to deliver them the fifth record of a five record deal, and to basically tell them go fuck themselves in the process. It’s not even good in any justifiable argument of what modern, laptop-based music creation can achieve these days.
Then when you consider that Tyler’s 2019 studio album Country Squire also left some feeling short changed with only nine songs—along with the eight elementary traditional tracks of Long Violent History, and the reproductions of songs on disc two of this release—you’re left with so much chaff from this artist, it’s starting to become overwhelming, and constitute the majority of his output. It leaves the audience with mixed to negative emotions about the individual who is supposed to be leading the charge for independent country music and Appalachian authenticity.
It’s not that Take My Hounds to Heaven does not have some good songs on it. It most certainly does. And the streaming consumers who won’t even make it to disc 3 will be curious about what any hubbub is about. They’ll just listen to the version of the songs they like, and move on. If there is a silver lining to all of this, it’s that Tyler Childers fans still get a small, but valiant selection of new-to-them tracks to enjoy. This should not be overlooked, or undervalued.
But as a triple platter album with 24 songs and a hefty price tag, you have to consider the entire package as a whole, the amount of original material it includes, the fairness to the consumer, and judge it among its peers. September 30th was an extremely busy release day with 10 to 12 song albums of all original material from artists who put their souls into their efforts, and many who will be overshadowed by this three-album monster released by Tyler Childers. If you want to listen to innovation in the country music space, go listen to Ashley McBryde Presents: Lineville, with 13 original tracks, taking the notions of what country should be and turning them on their head, while remaining country, and entertaining, and delivering more than what the audience expected instead of less.
Why can’t Tyler Childers just release an album of ten original songs like he did with Purgatory? Simply recording ten songs straight from the heart resulted in its own revolution in country music that has entirely rewritten the possibilities for independent artists. There would be no Zach Bryan if it wasn’t for Tyler Childers and Purgatory. It was Purgatory that gave birth to the first Certified Gold single from a non radio-supported country artist in the modern era, then the first Platinum one, then the first Double Platinum one, while the album itself has been Certified Platinum too.
Sure, maybe Tyler Childers doesn’t have the same songs within him that will resonate like all of those Purgatory tracks did, and expecting him to is the unreasonable expectations an audience can put on him, not wanting him to remain exclusively country, and being incensed by disc three. Tyler Childers is overthinking this, and falling for the fallacy that to be innovative as an artist, you have to do outlandish and unusual things, and piss off part of your fan base because that somehow proves your “artistry.”
All of these critical observations are shared from a place of love and belief in this artist, because we know what Tyler Childers is capable of. And though Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven? illustrates some of those possibilities in the initial songs—and again, this shouldn’t be overlooked or discounted—this album should have been an EP, or fleshed out with a few more original tracks instead of whatever this marketing and packaging monstrosity of an album turned out to be.
1 1/4 Guns Down (4/10)
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October 1, 2022 @ 9:55 am
I hate to say this, because I really want to love Childers’ music… but he hasn’t released a great album since “Purgatory.” That album was like a kick to country music’s balls. It was amazing. “Country Squire” had its moments but it just felt so short and didn’t hit the same as “Purgatory” did. People are starting to turn on Childers. He’s in danger of being passed on by. Which honestly probably wouldn’t bother him much. He seems like a good dude. But a lot of people are not liking this one. And I don’t just mean the jackasses who say he was better when he was doing coke.
I had to go listen to Brent Cobb’s Gospel album afterwards to warsh away the sounds of this “spiritual”album. I appreciate Tyler being straight up and saying that this wasn’t a true Gospel album, but goodness it turns out that all the discourse after he released “Angel Band” was right. This definitely wasn’t a Gospel album.
I hope that Tyler goes back to making good songs, he’s one of the best that country music has. At the end of the day artists don’t owe us anything, I just really liked old Childers. Anyways, this comment section should be fun.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:20 am
“People are starting to turn on Childers. He’s in danger of being passed on by.”
I don’t see this at all. He’s still the hottest ticket in country music. I think he sold out both nights at Red Rock this week (someone can confirm that). We were at Healing Appalachia last weekend. You wouldn’t believe the cars that were filing in at 9 pm just to see him (it was a two day event) for his 9:30 set start time. They came from everywhere … Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Georgia. There were so many people at the West Virginia Fair Grounds, we lost cell service.
Tyler’s concert experience is becoming like that of the Grateful Dead and Billy Strings now. It doesn’t matter what records (and like I said below he often doesn’t record his best songs and saves them for his concerts) it’s the live experience the fans love.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:37 am
Guess I should’ve worded better. He’s still arguably top 3 biggest acts in our kind of country music. I just mean that 4 years ago there wasn’t a person out there who heard him and didn’t love him. Hearing a lot of people right now say they’re not liking him much anymore. But I suppose that often happens when you get bigger, the opposition gets louder.
Ultimately, I want the guy to succeed and hope for more good music.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:46 am
Part of Tyler’s live draw though is the fact that he’s not touring, and hasn’t toured for a few years now. So when Tyler Childers does appear, people will drive thousands of miles to see him. I agree that Tyler remains a hot ticket, but it remains to be seen if he could book an arena tour across the country like he did before the pandemic, and before his last two releases, which have polarized his fan base.
Something else I’ve observed is that there is almost NO reviews of this album, and very little press coverage for what had to be one of the most anticipated releases in country all year. Usually an album like this would even have Pitchfork and sites like Salon paying attention. This is only the 3rd major review this album has received. There aren’t even any consumer reviews on Amazon at the moment. To me, this is even more of a troubling sign than people leaving negative reviews.
I agree that Tyler Childers is and will still remain an important artist. And I also don’t want to discount the folks who are finding favor with this album. But this feels like a big misstep, and there will be ramifications.
October 1, 2022 @ 12:24 pm
If I wasn’t ready SCM I wouldn’t have realized this album was on the horizon. Bedsides Childers’ socials, he’s barely marketed it – and it was a pretty short time between initial announcement and release. Maybe longer lead times *do* matter when it comes to mainstream press and coverage.
October 18, 2022 @ 6:49 pm
I am 69 years old and I don’t understand the criticism of the disc 3. I think it is amazing as are all the cuts on all 3 discs. Way better er than the last one although I may have to give that one another try. Play them in order mix them up I don’t care just listen!
October 1, 2022 @ 1:28 pm
I have to wonder if part of the reason why it is not getting a lot of reviews and such is that it is a gospel album. Many people don’t generally view them as real Albums because there are so many covers on them and often they are just boring for the masses
October 1, 2022 @ 4:46 pm
I think there are multiple elements at play as to why this album wasn’t reviewed.
First, as you say, a lot of outlets are not going to review a “Gospel” record because religious material is seen as polarizing subject matter. NPR, Pitchfork, and these kinds of outlets probably will avoid it as not being relevant to their demographic.
Conversely, as I have been navigating through the Twitter media echo chambers today, the overwhelming prevailing sentiment is that if you don’t like the new Tyler Childers record, you’re a racist redneck who supports Morgan Wallen, and only wants Tyler Childers to release “Whitehouse Road” over and over. That’s not only what I’m being called out for, but this mono-think was deployed before the album was even released to attempt to stave off criticism for it.
Also interesting is that within these echo chambers, there is lots of talk of the new Tyler Childers record, and little or nothing about Ashley McBryde by people who purport to “support women in country.”
My guess is there were multiple journalists and outlets that were planning to review the Tyler album, but when they saw what a mine field this release was presenting, decided to pull back. Because if you review this album, you at least owe it to your readers to point out how just the lack of truly original material is problematic. And if you do so, your peers will call you a mouth-breathing knuckle dragger.
I just went back to Amazon to see if any reviews had finally populated there. Two of them finally appeared today, and they’re both 1 star. Reviews aren’t everything, but so far this is not going well for Tyler Childers, and though I am definitely receiving pushback for this review, there is also a ton of agreement.
Don’t be surprised if we see a renewed media push for this album in the coming weeks as they look to rectify the narrative with this album.
October 3, 2022 @ 1:41 pm
Was very shocked to see Allmusic give this 4.5/5 and give it their “album pick” accolade out of his entire catalog.
Agree with your take on this album. Good to see fair and honest criticism.
October 6, 2022 @ 10:53 am
Let me be one of the ones to say I will NOT buy another Childers ticket. My wife and I were in the front row at Red Rocks the first time he played there…at a lot of expense coming from KY. I have traveled far and wide to see him play including most recently going to Willie’s 4th of July picnic in Austin. I bought 4 seats center stage row 9…they were NOT cheap. I bought them to primarily see Tyler. A mistake I will not make again.
I hope he sells a million more tickets and albums, but he has secured his last dollar from me. This latest album, like everything else of his, I made a presale vinyl purchase that with shipping and tax came in at close to $80. I wish I could get my money back…this album is awful.
I’m done with him…so yes, some of us are PASSING HIM BY.
October 6, 2022 @ 11:34 am
All this rant is missing is the reason you won’t be seeing Tyler in concert anymore. All because of this album?
October 6, 2022 @ 11:46 am
Not just because of this album, but his last 3 and the material he is playing live now. The last two just seem amateurish and aren’t up my alley. From what I have gathered from anyone I talk to post and pre shows, on the internet, friends, etc they all feel the same way.
His lives shows used to be one hell of a good time…you literally had an entire venue, no matter the size, singing along, the pacing of the setlist were perfect…it was incredible. Now all these lame covers and stuff taking such a spiritual turn it’s just well..MEH.
I know for a fact that everyone within 3 rows of us in Austin this past July were VERY let down by his set. A lot who were seeing him for the first time. It was literally almost entirely cover songs. Sure Trudy is fun, but the rest .. c’mon. People aren’t happy paying money to see that and those aren’t my words … it was everyone I talked to.
Clearly, it is his music and more power to him to take it in whatever direction he wants, but just like Sturgill he is abandoning what made him so popular to begin with. Guess I’m just a dumbass who “doesn’t get it”, but regardless I won’t spend a penny more on his material. In the future if something new comes out I’ll give it a listen on a streaming service, but I’m not going to seek out his shows anymore like I had done for many years.
October 12, 2022 @ 5:46 pm
I saw Tyler in 2017 in Prestonsburg KY and the show was tremendous. It was him and his guitar ( his band far in the back as they should be ) bawling out those songs – Virgie, I Got Stoned and I Missed It, Lady May, White House Road and all the great songs at that time. The audience ate him up – sang along with every tune. Really amazing. I’ve never seen an audience so into an artist.
Then I saw him a few weeks ago in his hometown, Louisa KY. Everybody was so excited and in the rain with no seats 15,000 people showed up. He didn’t not sing White House Road, Feathered Indians, or even his hit- All Your’n! I heard many voices start to get restless and one said, “ If he’d just sing Lady May I’d be happy!” He finally did but it was too late and much, much too much band. We came to hear Tyler sing and pick his hits about Kentucky – not his long winded and mediocre band. I was disappointed and confused. He’s not the same artist. He has let his band become the focus so he sounds like any other act.
October 2, 2022 @ 9:38 am
I bought Purgatory, loved it. Couple of decent tunes on this as well, but let’s face it, the ladies write the best country music these days.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 3, 2022 @ 7:40 am
When I saw him live, the Local Honeys opened…and blew him out of the water, haha.
October 3, 2022 @ 7:47 am
I could easily believe this, they’re phenomenal.
October 3, 2022 @ 4:29 pm
Tyler Childers Rocks whatever music he writes! He is a natural, very gifted and talented and an amazing song writer! Rock on Tyler!
October 1, 2022 @ 10:01 am
Big Tyler fan here. Seen him live 4 times since 2017, etc.
Wife and I excitedly sat down and started listening to album upon release. I was ready to go all the way w/ this one – Tyler doing electronic music? OK – if it’s good let’s hear it. Tyler releasing multiple versions of the same song? Cool, could be a fun experiment.
And I found myself skipping the instrumental songs and very underwhelmed by others. I really like ‘Way of the Triune God’ but thats about it. Besides the bad songwriting (where’s the poetry?), the musicianship itself isn’t very good. I love me some funk and gospel. If you’re going to play that kind of music, you better show up and rock the shit out of it. This band doesn’t, which is confusing because live I’ve been impressed.
I like Tyler and will always go out of my way to see him live, but I really don’t understand the games he’s playing with these crap albums. Disappointed fan.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:03 am
This comment section about to get heated. But you’re spot on on this one.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:06 am
I still don’t know what to make of this album, lol. I am wondering if you rated this album 4/10 based on your standards for Childer’s or your standards for country music as a whole? Only asking since I noticed you rated Jason Aldean’s MACON album a 4/10 as well (https://www.savingcountrymusic.com/album-review-jason-aldeans-macon/). Would you consider Aldean’s album and this new album to be on the same level? Or did you rate each of them by your standards for each artist in particular?
October 1, 2022 @ 11:48 am
Look. If I give an honest review of this album, I lose. I lose readers, I lose friends, I lose contacts in the music business, because in music, you’re never supposed to be negative, or honest. You’re only supposed to be part of the hype machine. Tyler Childers is arguably the most important artist in the music community I help represent. Arguably no other artists has been more positively praised at Saving Country Music in its history than Tyler Childers.
But I cannot lie. I find this release problematic for reasons that I feel I objectively, articulately, and dispassionately expressed, and in ways that frankly are irrefutable. And so in the vacuum of rational arguments against what I’ve said here, I will get attacked personally, which is already happening, not as much in this comments section so far, but certainly on Twitter and Facebook. I am/will be called a racist, I will be called closed-minded, I will be criticized for only wanting country music to ever sound like Hank Williams and not evolve, and there will be a consensus in certain circles about this conclusion.
Yes, I would say this album is on par with Jason Aldean’s “Macon.” When I listened to that record, I was surprised at the quality of writing, the amount of heartbreak in the songs, and how country sounding it was. Was it a good album? No. That is why it received a negative review. But I don’t review names, I review albums. If I had any bias towards Jason Aldean, clearly it would be a negative one, just if I had a bias toward Tyler Childers, it would be a positive one.
I wanted to love this album. If you go back to the comments section of the album announcement, you’ll see I was defending it even before it was released. But what he’s released here is indefensible, in my opinion. It would have been much easier for me to just put a good spin on this and move on. But my job is to be honest, no matter how popular it is, and what the ramifications are.
As I said in another comment, there are barely any reviews for this anywhere, at least so far. The reason for this is because reviewers are afraid to share their true opinions here, because they will be attacked. But I would rather have my credibility attacked than be accused of being dishonest.
October 1, 2022 @ 7:05 pm
Yes, I totally see where you’re coming from, and definitely respect that. I agree with about 95% of your review of this album. Probably a 5/10 for me.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:20 pm
I appreciate your opinions and review’s even if I don’t always agree with them. Your authenticity is what makes this sight great.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:07 am
Yes and amen Trigger. Just a hot mess of an album. Theology is hot garbage too. I’ll just continue to Triune God on YouTube and be good. Thankful for the road he’s paved and all the good music out of Appalachia. I’m glad he’s sober too but sobriety is not a good excuse for poor craftsmanship.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:11 am
Once upon a time, artists recorded albums, then toured to support the album (often naming the tour after the new album). Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan and (from what we can gleam so far) Logan Halstead have flipped the script. They use the recorded music to support their tours, often never releasing proper recorded versions of their best songs and saving them for the live experience.
Where are the “religious” in nature songs Tyler has been playing regularly in concert this year we thought would be included in this project? “Percheron Mules”, his version of “The Greatest Story Ever Told, “Luke Chapter 2 Verses 8-10,” and an updated version of “Bottles and Bibles” … all these songs could have easily been added to this “compilation” elevating the recorded music experience. This “album” is essentially and EP, a taster. If you like these songs, buy a concert ticket and hear more like them.
Tyler has always operated like this. The biggest crime of this “compilation” is we finally get a recored version of “Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?” and it’s nothing like we heard from 2017-2019. I’m pissed about that. Hounds has always been one of my favorite songs by Tyler and I find any version of it on this “compilation” unlistenable.
I find your “theory” about getting out of his contract with RCA interesting and the only redeemable factor in the release.
With that said, I still think Tyler is the most important artist in country music (my annual power rankings below). I’m admittedly biased because I’m an Appalachian boy born and raised and he has given us a voice, an identity. We just saw him at Healing Appalachia last week and it was a religious experience (2nd only to seeing him at Delfest in May). From Lexington to Cumberland, Morgantown to Asheville, Childers is deservingly King. Although the concept of this “album” was well intended and these songs in concert are phenomenal, as a recorded music project as we used to know it, this was a big miss. But, maybe it was intended to be exactly what it is.
My Annual Country Music Power Rankings:
1. Tyler Childers
2. Billy Strings
3. Zach Bryan
4. Whiskey Myers
5. Chris Stapleton
6. Miranda Lambert
7. Luke Combs
8. Cody Johnson
9. 49 Winchester
10. Jason Isbell
11. Lainey Wilson
12. Mike and the Moonpies
13. Bella White
14. Logan Halstead
15. Cole Chaney
16. Turnpike Troubadours
17. Cody Jinks
18. Ian Noe
19. Town Mountain
20. Benjamin Tod/ Lost Dog Street Band
October 1, 2022 @ 10:34 am
Completely agree on the versions of “Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?” I was pumped to see it as a track and it’s always been a favorite since both of our dogs are hounds. Hopefully he sticks to the old version at live shows.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:38 am
He included two version of that song on this album. Why not do a mid-tempo version in the spirit of the “Gospel-esque” approach to this album, and then a blazing one that we all fell in love with live?
October 1, 2022 @ 10:37 am
I fail to comprehend why Tyler Childers is being so austere with releasing his songs when we know he has more original material out there. This is not an issue of writer’s cramp. I remember thinking it was strange “Country Squire” only had nine tracks when he could have included “Take My Hounds to Heaven” or “Nose to the Grindstone,” or something else to complete the 10-song set. Why only nine songs when you have so much unreleased material swirling out there?
As you point out, there are songs Tyler Childers has performed recently that seem to have been very specifically written or worked up for this very album. Where is “Percheron Mules”? Where is “Luke Chapter 2 Verses 8-10″? Where’s Bob Weir’s “Greatest Story Ever Told,” which has been a focus of live shows, and would work perfectly on this record? Meanwhile you include two instrumentals that just sound like backing tracks?
The only conclusion that I can come to is that Tyler doesn’t want to turn over these songs to RCA. Nothing else makes sense at all. Why even create this record if songs you wrote for it aren’t included, but you did include 8 tracks of noise bullshit?
I could have probably spent more time critiquing the songs that ARE on this record, but there’s so much else that’s wrong with it, I just ceded that argument. I hear what some are saying about the instrumentation coming from the Food Stamps. But it’s fine. There are so many more bigger fish to fry with what’s going on here.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:52 am
Nose to the Grindstone is the biggest moment in a Tyler Childers concert right now. It sends chills up my spine thinking about it from Delfest and Healing Appalachia this year. But, we don’t have a proper recording of it (besides the live OurVinyl version). That’s insane. And how he operates. It’s like he wants to save these songs for the live experience.
Look at what’s going on with Zack Bryan. So far this year, a 34 track album, a 9 track EP, another album on the way and he’s releasing singles almost every 3rd Friday. Fans go to twitter and start clamoring for a song (three weeks ago it was Burn, Burn, Burn), he records and releases it instantly while devaluing the actual recorded album he just put out months ago. He doesn’t let the album breathe or develop before on to some other fan requested project or song they hear in concert.
Both of these artists use the recored music as vehicles for their live shows which is totally different from the way we are programmed to think about recorded music.
October 1, 2022 @ 4:25 pm
If you have a hot spell and you’re trending, people will buy everything you put out. It’s only 99 cent per song. Most fans can easily afford to buy whole artist catalogues and the best time to sell is when you’re hot.
October 2, 2022 @ 2:23 am
Zach Bryan is making fractions on the penny on streaming and downloading … peanut shells. These young artists realize there’s no more money in the recorded music business and they are using what that can of the recorded album to solely drive tickets sells and maximize their touring value (flipping the script).
Tyler did what little he could to make, produce and promote this album. He produced himself using his own band in a barn (not a studio). He didn’t send out any advance promos and there isn’t a marketing push behind its release. He’s not spending money in that arena. I view this release as a companion piece to his upcoming tour.
October 4, 2022 @ 5:21 am
He’s becoming the Bob Dylan of country music.
October 7, 2022 @ 10:16 am
Not sure thats strictly true for instance if Bob recorded different versions of his own songs they would each sound very different , i dont think the versions of the songs on the first two discs or sides sound that different bar a bit of instrumentation.
Dont think ill be listening to Joyous noise very much.
October 1, 2022 @ 12:32 pm
I like your list but where the hell is Blackberry Smoke, Sierra Farrell, and Morgan Wade?
October 1, 2022 @ 1:00 pm
If Blackberry Smoke released new music this year (new music weighed heavily) they’d make it. I somehow missed them and Jamey Johnson when they were here (seeing them in concert weighs heavily too). I love BBS.
Farrell is just too damn strange for me. It’s a me issue. She’s from these parts, but I just can’t get into her and are envious of those who can.
October 1, 2022 @ 1:27 pm
Lists are personal and your top 20 list is a good one. I would include Willi Carlisle, Sierra Ferrell, and Colter Wall. Vincent Neil Emerson will be there soon. Nick Shoulders is important as well.
So many talented artists in the Country Music space right now.
Thanks for your list
October 5, 2022 @ 5:15 am
JR, I think your additions are spot on.
October 2, 2022 @ 7:51 am
No American Aquarium, Vandoliers, Chris Canterbury, Arlo McKinley, Hellbound Glory or Drayton Farley? This is honestly a top 40 country Americana list nothing more.
October 2, 2022 @ 10:39 am
I loathe the Americana genre and I feel every artist you listed except Hellbound Glory is the poster child for it.
October 2, 2022 @ 10:52 am
Compared to the list you mentioned of top 40 artists everyone knows and often blindly follow, the list i mentioned are still relatively unknowns and are playing very small venues still. I too know Americana and have seen all I mentioned a few times plus many others live over the years and buy 50-60 Americana genre like albums a year and have for a decade+ I will say Tyler Childers is a marketing nightmare gone way too far. Decent voice but Country Squires and his latest disaster of an album are simply put not good. They are mid lyrically when he does originals and uneventful instrumentals. Way too much has been made for an artist with one good album.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 3, 2022 @ 8:29 am
I saw Arlo with Kelsey Waldon and Emily Scott Robinson at an “Oh Boy Goes to Europe” show.
He was noticeably more country than the latter two.
(Also, American Aquarium are just great, haha)
January 26, 2023 @ 10:57 am
You don’t consider Jason Isbell to be a “poster child” for the Americana genre?
October 1, 2022 @ 10:23 am
What’s there sounds good to me for the most part. He sounds good, the band sounds good, production is good. But you’re right that when you get into the meat of it there just isn’t enough to satisfy the appetite. I’m still hungry and I feel like we’re going to have to wait a while before the next meal. Hopefully this is a ploy to satisfy contract obligations and free himself up but idk. I’m here for whatever he wants to do but I wish we could just have another full album of Tyler and his band playing and singing his original songs. No big concept, no marketing tricks. You wanna do a fiddle song, a gospel, and instrumental or hell, even an electronic track, go for it! But just give us some straight up Tyler Childers too. That’s who we came here to hear and that’s the guy that seems somewhat removed from all this. What’s your life about nowadays? Fears, hopes? Whatcha learning in your sobriety? Where ya heading?…I know that’s a lot to ask of an individual, especially such a private one but I promise to listen when he’s ready to tell it. Maybe he just needs some more time to process his notoriety and sobriety before being able to write it all down and put it all out there for the world to tear apart.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:23 am
The Hallelujah tracks are excellent and entirely in line with Tyler’s output.
The Jubilee tracks are nice but unnecessary. Interesting concept, but not well executed.
The Joyful Noise tracks are crap.
So what do you do with a release that’s great, mediocre, and bad all at once? Some focus on the bad, some on the good. I’m firmly in the latter category and remain a fan of a great, if imperfect, artist.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:43 am
I think there are two great songs on this album, which are Triune God and Angel Band – but I prefer the Jubilee versions to Hallelujah.
October 5, 2022 @ 8:03 pm
The joyful noise garbage sucked. Did he just learn how to use the generic music program from windows 2000? Pathetic. I’m glad I have Purgatory, and it will remain in a constant rotation, but everything since has been trash. Country Squire sounded like a bad Tyler impersonator singing dumb songs. He’s hung out with Sturgill too much and ruined his talent I’m afraid
October 1, 2022 @ 10:25 am
The only thing I would say is I feel people are being revisionist with Country Squire which was just a really great country album.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:23 am
“Country Squire” got a 9/10 rating here. I think it’s a great album. But when you look back on it, it fits in the pattern of Tyler Childers curiously delivering less original material than you expect from an artist, especially when he has unreleased songs that he’s performed live and that we know about sitting on the shelf.
October 5, 2022 @ 8:05 pm
This is the reason all music reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. I thought country squire was absolutely pitiful. I don’t recall ever being so let down with music before
October 1, 2022 @ 11:55 am
I don’t think that’s the case. Plenty of regular commenters, myself included, expressed not disappointment per say, but a feeling that it was a solid notch below Purgatory in songwriting. We expressed these feelings all the way back when it was released. It’s still solid, but not a masterpiece like Purgatory.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:36 am
I love Childers and I love cover songs. Hearing how an artist reinterprets a song and makes it there own is so fun and interesting to me. So a Childers album with 3 versions of the same 8 songs is really exciting. Unfortunately, as you said Trigger, 2 of these versions are basically the same. Not a different arrangement, not even a newly recorded vocal performance. Exactly the same except with some added horns or other additional music. Hopefully the 3rd version is significantly different, right? Well…it is. It also sucks though. Really disappointing. I still eagerly await Tyler’s next project but this was very disappointing. I did like some of the songs though. But there’s so little to work with here.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:38 am
I hate almost everything about this album, but maybe most egregious (outside of the shit electric guitar work from Jesse Wells, which I’ve never liked) are the two pointless snoozefest instrumental tracks.
Like seriously, wtf is this record? It sounds like shit. There has to be something going on behind the scenes.
October 2, 2022 @ 8:01 am
This is awful and unlistenable imo. I also felt Country Squire was ass. Listened to it one time then never again. I agree with others who said Sturgill ruined him. Purgatory was good not great. Somewhere this artist got way more hype then he deserves. I buy 60-80 Americana albums a year every year and honestly nothing he has done would I put in my top 50. I saw him live years ago before he got big. He was again ok. Want to listen to some great artist who deserve hype then listen to Chris Canterbury’s new one, Arlo McKinley’s new one and Drayton Farley’s new EP. Those deserve the praise for the art they created. Hellbound Glory’s new one is also very good. Just sayin.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 3, 2022 @ 8:31 am
Bottles and Bibles is pretty damn great, though.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:54 am
Sometimes a person just needs to do something to get it out of their system. It is a project that he wanted to see completed and thats that.
My guess is that he will never do anything like it again.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:27 am
But see, I’m not even 100% sure this is something Tyler wanted to do to get it out of his system. That is what “Long Violent History” was for sure. But with this, there are songs that he wrote for this album that aren’t even on it. I guess we have to assume by default this is the record he wanted to release, but I’d love to hear the Director’s cut because my guess is it would satisfy some of the criticisms it’s receiving.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:47 am
Good point, I guess I just assume artists have a good reason for what they do. Looking back at some of the older “different” concept albums that have been released makes me think that artists just need to do it so that they can move on creatively to the next project.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:55 am
The lack of new songs is just disappointing
October 1, 2022 @ 11:07 am
I have wanted to love Tyler’s music for a long time but just simply like him. I don’t consider “Purgatory” a masterpiece like many do but it’s a good record. Nothing since has really blown me away and I keep wanting to like him more than I do. I think his potential is great but hopefully he will be more consistent on his next album.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:15 am
I don’t know, maybe people jumped the gun by creating too much hype. He’s one of many good songwriters working, but I don’t see him becoming a legend of the field.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:18 am
I stopped reading at “rank bullshit”. Like many others I love that third disc. It’s obviously just not your kind of music and you just don’t get it.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:25 am
Best Childers album yet. “Two Coats” is my favorite.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:49 am
I guess that’s the beauty of beauty – it’s truly in the eye of the beholder.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:39 am
“ Why can’t Tyler Childers just release an album of ten original songs like he did with Purgatory?” – Trigger, and every other listener that would rather have Tyler rehash the same ground over and over in lieu of exploring HIS OWN artistic interests. He’s got plenty of unrecorded tracks that sound like the Purgatory material, and he could easily jump back into the studio with session players like he did on Purgatory and Country Squire. He clearly wanted to challenge himself, his band, and his audience with this release and to that end he’s been highly successful. Just like pop county fans looking for mindless drivel, it appears a large segment of the traditionalist and Americana audience just want the same thing over again, at least sonically.
Y’all wanted a country music savior so bad that you anointed Sturgill, then Tyler, then Zach when clearly none of them were looking for the crown. It’s totally fine to say you don’t get it, or like it, but this “tear down” comes off like a spurned lover throwing a fit. I for one appreciate that the aforementioned artists do what they wanted, critics and audiences be damned.
October 1, 2022 @ 12:01 pm
Well, you’re right – I was certainly challenged by this album. It was indeed a challenge to listen to this all the way through, especially the Joyful Noise tracks.
October 1, 2022 @ 1:12 pm
If people love this record, I respect that. If people love the third disc on this record, I respect that as well. I’m not here to get in the way of anyone’s joy of music.
But it is infinitely frustrating that whenever you share a critical assessment of an artist or an album, the default, stock answer is that you must not want the artist to grow, and instead want them to make the same record over and over, and want country music to only sound like Hank Williams. That’s a Straw Man argument. That is most certainly not what I said in this review, and made sure to go out of my way to clarify that, because this is the argument that always comes up. Of course we want Tyler Childers to follow his muse and do what he wants. But that doesn’t mean it’s compulsory that we must love it.
Furthermore, take the third disc out of the equation entirely. You still have so few new songs included on the first two discs, it’s very fair to point this out, especially when you have so many other excellent titles being released in country music with 10-12 original songs. There are some very fundamental packaging concerns with this album that I have brought up with other artists such as Garth Brooks that have nothing to do with the evolution of an artist, and I feel like it would be unfair to the consumer to not address them.
October 2, 2022 @ 8:40 pm
Almost ordered the album after listening, then called it off.
This really should be the deluxe collectors edition version for the super fan. I’d be happy to buy disc 1 or 2 on vinyl – I dig it enough. But to be strong armed into paying 60 bucks for what amounts to 8 ‘songs’, on the heels of not doing anything particularly interesting post-Purgatory, it’s just not worth it.
October 4, 2022 @ 5:21 pm
Something told me I should wait to listen before preordering (mainly the $50+ price tag). I have all his albums but I won’t be purchasing this one.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:48 am
Well stated, Trigger. I felt every word of this review when I first listened, although I read your review first and hoped so much that I would ultimately disagree and enjoy all of this release. I love the Hallelujah versions (especially Way of the Triune God), and I will fully admit I was wrong on my comments in the prior SCM article – there’s definitely some Gospel music here, like the aforementioned track, no doubt.
I found the Jubilee versions to be entirely superfluous. Sturg could have released a “stripped down” set of Sailor’s Guide to Earth followed with the horn and string set that appears on the album, but he picked one great lane and it was all we needed. The songs on Take My Hounds aren’t phenomenal enough on their own to compel an identical second set with just a slight instrumental garnish.
The Joyful Noise, as already stated, is unlistenable garbage. My teenage brother-in-law can make far better “music” on his computer. I now know what Dylan fans alive in his prime must have felt when he released Self Portrait. I choose to believe your theory – hopefully this is just a middle finger to RCA. He’s too good for this to actually be a concerted effort at an artistic statement.
Thankfully there’s so much good material released in the last week that I’m not even dismayed about this. I’ll just spend my time on good faith solid releases from other great artists.
October 1, 2022 @ 12:09 pm
Your last paragraph 👍
October 1, 2022 @ 12:04 pm
It’s a disappointment. So glad I listened to it on Spotify and didn’t fork over cash for the LPs.
Funny how a glowing review barely mentioned the awful Joyful Noise section, when it’s a third of the album (Holler Country, if you’re curious).
October 1, 2022 @ 12:05 pm
Been listening to the John Fullbright and other stuff…haven’t checked this out yet. Based on the comments and the review, looks like I might have saved myself some time.
October 1, 2022 @ 3:20 pm
That new John Fullbright’s pretty badass
October 1, 2022 @ 12:11 pm
After geeking out (and probably overdosing) on Childers around the Purgatory and Country Squire eras, I just about quit listening and paying attention to what he was doing.
I fully expected to be underwhelmed by this new album but I’m pleasantly surprised and dare I say, really digging it. Disc 1 is honestly pretty good to my ears, disc 2 as well, and disc 3 is alright.
Disc 3 reminds me of the experimental sample-heavy “found-sound” trip-hop stuff UK labels like Mo’Wax (Dj Shadow, DJ Krush, Unkle etc.) and Ninja Tune (Cold Cut, DJ Vadim etc.) we’re doing in the mid-90’s. This musical approach is not novel in 2022, but for an artist like Childers to do it, with snippets of Appalachian “sacred” music, certainly is.
But, yeah, with a little more effort, Childers could’ve (should’ve?) cut a few more originals and releases a full 10-12 track album instead of this three-disc set. It certainly smells of “gimmick”, but I don’t think the gimmick is entirely without merit.
October 1, 2022 @ 12:18 pm
Just to add, I wasn’t counting on Childers to save what to me has been a pretty lackluster year in country music – except in this past month, which had delivered a bounty of albums I’m loving (finally) – Jon Pardi’s Mr. Saturday Night, Adam Hood’s Bad Days Better, Nikki Lane’s Denim & Diamonds, and Kendell Marvel’s Come On Sunshine. Looking forward to Trigger’s reviews of the latter two.
October 1, 2022 @ 2:58 pm
FYI Nikki Lane was on CBS Saturday Morning today. She did great and looked fabulous.
October 5, 2022 @ 5:26 am
I thought everyone was slightly missing the mark calling Joyful Noise electronic music. I fully agree it’s more hip hop influenced, and as someone who doesn’t enjoy most hip hop but loves an instrumental forward hip hop group like Run the Jewels or Asheru, I actually like Joyful Noise on first listen. I doubt I’ll wear it out like Bottles and Bibles, but I think it’s interesting.
Former 90s raver
October 2, 2022 @ 10:24 am
Never expected Ninja Tune to show up in the comments but here we are!!
October 2, 2022 @ 11:06 am
“Former 90’s raver” here as well, and former deejay. I can totally see how disc 3 is “unlistenable bullshit” for traditional country music fans here, and probably sounds entirely alien and repulsive, but it’s well within the scope of stuff I’ve been enjoying since the mid-90’s. It’s not exactly Coldcut, but it’s a valiant effort from an artist that’d otherwise have no business doing something like that.
October 1, 2022 @ 12:34 pm
Been a Childers fan for years and loved everything he’s put out. Until this. This is a steaming pile of shit.
Country Charley Crockett's Butter
October 1, 2022 @ 12:38 pm
Hair flip, check my nails…
BABY HOW YOU FEELIN’???
🎶🎼🎼 4/10 At BEST 🎶🎼
October 1, 2022 @ 1:02 pm
I’ve been anxiously awaiting this review. I have played his albums through Country Squire to death, but with so much music in the world I do not follow all of his unreleased live songs, at all. If he doesn’t put it on an album, I don’t hear it. So I agree it is dumb to have all these (seemingly) awesome songs not available on an album.
I skipped his last album. I wasn’t buying on vinyl a bunch of instrumental songs by someone learning how to play a new instrument.
I was excited initially upon the announcement of this album until I heard it was a gospel album. Then to realize it is really 8 songs. I didn’t pre-order this on $60 vinyl. I’ll check it out eventually via streaming.
So, for this fan, Tyler isn’t doing much to keep me engaged at this point. And hasn’t really for several years. To each his own, obviously, just my perspective.
October 1, 2022 @ 1:22 pm
Thank you for the high quality, honest review. These are getting more rare as ties to money, website hits, social media exposure and corporate pressure seemed to have engulfed honest journalism.
As you inferred, there are some quality songs on this release that would make a really good 8 song playlist to all but the Tyler Childers super fan. I especially appreciate the effort to create a sort of time capsule to pay homage and preserve the extra “spiritual” church experiences so many of us witnessed as children.
That being said, there are some truly awful compilations here that seem as if we’ll be hearing that it was all some cruel, latent April Fool’s caper. Honestly, at one point I thought I was listening to the dueling chorus of (ahem) a couple having raucous relations with a dog barking in the next room.
Compare this release to other recent releases from the likes of Charles Wesley Godwin, Bella White, Sierra Ferrel, Neil Vincent Emerson and John freaking R. freaking Miller and it’s quite the let down.
October 1, 2022 @ 1:23 pm
Your review forgot to mention really anything about the way the songs sound aside from the electronic stuff. For me the most important thing about music is not the value, but the music itself.
There are several tunes on this album that are absolutely extraordinary in arrangement and delivery. Subtle vocal and guitar nuances that are absolutely pudding others to shame. I had just finished Quaalude Lullabies and enjoyed the album and then put this on and the true grit of emotion and sound dwarfed Canterbury’s efforts.
Too frequently I feel that we are spending so much time being concerned about the number of songs or someone’s agenda in the business or a multitude of other things that are truly trivial compared with the beauty that can be created in country music. The few songs on this album that are good are so much better than just good and it should make us all extremely happy
October 1, 2022 @ 1:46 pm
I thought I spent a decent amount of time talking about the music of the songs that are included here. I talked about the Jerry Reed influence of the band fusing with the Gospel influences. Sure, I probably would have spent more time talking about it if there weren’t other bigger issues to address, but I tried to not overlook the material that is here. I’ve seem criticism of some of the guitar playing and such as being sloppy, but I kind of think that’s what they were going for. Others are complaining that “Take My Hounds To Heaven” isn’t like the live version, but that’s what you’re going to get when you’ve been hearing a song for three years before the studio version. I really do have an issue at all with how these songs were rendered.
October 1, 2022 @ 1:57 pm
Fair enough. I guess I was hoping for a bit more of a description like how Andrew Zimmern describes food compared to how everyone else says that it melts in your mouth. I do understand that you have an obligation based on your mission though to dig deeper into back stories and such.
By far my favorite part of this album after a few listens was the lead guitar. If I want to hear something polished, there are tons of studio session guitar players I can seek out. I thought this was pretty real and was recording beautiful. I have been accused of being far too critical of music, but I just can’t get too critical about this album. I thought that Whitehouse Road was low hanging fruit and bordering on dumb guy country and I see this album as part of a beautiful growth pattern in Tyler Childers’ career. That last sentence likely sets me in a different category from the majority of SCM fans.
I will never defend the electronic stuff, but there are a few absolute gems in delivery on this album. We should all be happy that he is not going on some stupid path like Sturgill, Parker Millsap, or so many other brilliant artists before.
October 1, 2022 @ 2:37 pm
It is unbelievable to me that people actually like the lead guitar on this album. I told my wife it sounds like what happens when I try to play along with recordings: off-rhythm, half beat too late, buzzing frets, missing notes. There’s “unpolished” and there’s sloppy; this is sloppy.
Wilson Pick It
October 1, 2022 @ 1:42 pm
Like you, I’m old fashioned. I want a 40 minute album, of songs that are 2-5 minutes long, released annually, with only 1-2 singles released ahead of time to hype it up. Then tour on it.
I don’t really care for things like
* Half the album released as singles before it drops
* Albums released as 3-4 EP’s to stay on release calendars longer
* Deluxe editions that scrape the barrel so that the album can be released twice
* A glut of material dumped all at once (Zach Bryan)
* Whatever the hell this is
It’s all part of the same trend in my opinion. Trying to stay relevant in a sea of releases.
October 11, 2022 @ 9:15 pm
Charley Crockett is doing it right. A few years ago I wouldn’t put him in the same stratosphere as the likes of Childers, Colter Wall, and Cody Jinks. But the sad truth is that his past couple years of releases have just been better than theirs has, and its not fully from him getting better, but mostly from those artists getting significantly worse.
October 1, 2022 @ 3:03 pm
As a fan of the anti-establishment version of country music, I must say Purgatory for me was a landmark album, it put Tyler in a category all his own, and he was late in being recognized for it by the influential people in the music industry, and they tried to keep him out of country music as long as they could (see his appearance at the Americana awards) and pissed him off. So when they came offering him a bone I think his mindset was one of take the money and run, and he is fulfilling a contract in order to get paid and at the same time servicing his extremely loyal and extremely specific Appalachian fan base with a few releases they will appreciate fully. I admit joyful noise took me by surprise but upon doing a small amount of research, the music is very specific to the Huntington WV club/nightlife scene, and anyone outside that bubble is bound to scratch their heads. I for one applaud him for expressing himself as artist honestly and without apology. As a consumer I hope for him to return to a more widely palatable selection of releases on a more regular schedule, he clearly has the ability, let us all hope he has the desire. He is one of the greatest talents alive.
October 1, 2022 @ 3:22 pm
That’s really interesting about the Huntington WV club scene. Have you heard any other music from that scene? If so, would you consider the “Joyful Noise” tracks to be good, relatively speaking, for that specific sub-sub-subgenre?
October 1, 2022 @ 3:26 pm
October 1, 2022 @ 4:47 pm
I have not. Only a short session of research led me to the work of Brett Fuller aka Charlie Brown superstar. He is co-producer and mixer on the third set of songs for the album. It seems he is a heavy influence there. He is active in Huntington.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:00 pm
The Huntington/Ashland regional scene is one of the biggest unknown-knowns of country music. Recently it Childers and Stapleton but there’s a ton more going back decades. I remember when Billy Ray Cyrus used to watch end of the world videos over a bar there in town. And who can forget GG Allin? The list of artists coming out of that area is actually quite amazing.
Huntington is one of those places that will blow up in a good way some day after all the decades of hard times there. I visit there about once a month and really enjoy it.
October 7, 2022 @ 7:33 am
GG Allin is not from Huntington. I don’t think he ever even played there.
October 1, 2022 @ 3:13 pm
There were many comments predicting war would break out here, but I see mostly agreement.
I first heard Angel Band on Spotify while driving and it played the two versions back to back but I didn’t know that it was 2 versions because I was looking at the road not my phone.
I have chronic pain that has been pretty bad lately. Well into the 12 minutes of those 2 versions, I started getting annoyed. My pain level escalated from the tension of being annoyed. I wanted to stop the car and get out even though I could have just turned it off
October 1, 2022 @ 3:27 pm
“The album Purgatory by Tyler Childers will go down in history as one of the most important and successful releases by any country music artist in the last ten years, and perhaps in history.”
In history? Hahahahahahahaha. Oh, wait…you’re serious. 🙄 Talk about being a huge cog in the hype machine.
October 1, 2022 @ 3:32 pm
Boy, someone stopped reading after the first sentence.
October 1, 2022 @ 7:01 pm
Sounds like you should listen to Purgatory again and trace his meteoric rise from obscurity to Red Rocks if you disagree with that statement.
October 1, 2022 @ 4:04 pm
It’s as we all feared…
I really agree with your ‘neither fish nor fowl’ point – like what actually is this? 1 song is solidly Gospel, a couple are questionable and a couple are decidedly anti Biblical gospel. Completely incoherent and unlikely to fully please anyone from a subject matter perspective. Musically the Hallelujah and Jubilee versions are sometimes really good, occasionally a bit overwhelming – but I just can’t get past the subject matter. Joyful Noise is anything but joyful noise as far as I’m concerned.
And the point you make about how ‘evolving’ the sound is always practiced by conforming with things other people in other genres are already doing is also entirely applicable to the ‘theology’. All of these new age type universalist beliefs that Tyler and a good number of commenters seem to think are so modern, enlightened and evolved are just ancient heresies slightly repackaged for the modern mind. And, far from being counter cultural have formed the basis of conformist culture for at least 100 years.
Just really disappointing. I fully agree that he doesn’t owe us anything, but at this point I don’t think any of us owe him anything if he continues to try to palm this stuff off on us.
October 1, 2022 @ 4:09 pm
I hear you Trig, that third disc reminds me of the time I got a copy of 50 Shades of Gray as a Christmas gift…..
October 1, 2022 @ 4:25 pm
October 1, 2022 @ 4:27 pm
Was really hoping to see Luke Chapter 2 Verses 8-10 on this one. I also thought he might do a more uptempo countrified version of take my hounds to heaven, like he did live at pickathon. I’ll always be a Tyler fan, but it would be great to see him move back to a traditional country or bluegrass sound, and keep his base energized. Hopefully he follows this album up quickly.
Billy Wayne Ruddick
October 1, 2022 @ 4:44 pm
I really feel like the third “disc” was done just for fun / as a halfway joke. Not a half-bad first disc, …..but was anyone expecting anything revolutionary out of this one? It’s always felt as if it was set up to be a fun / experiment type record.
Craig’s fretless electric bass work is the best part of this project that nobody is talking about.
October 1, 2022 @ 5:27 pm
Have you seen the crazy facial expressions he’s been doing lately. Everything about him is weird. He’s dressing like some kind of hipster, he’s got the crazy facial expressions of a person in a mental asylum, and now we get a crazy album, or three. He’s dabbled in wokeism, and religion at the same time. He’s changed everything about himself, and that would be OK if the music was still good. I think he’s getting some bad advice, and at the very least he needs somebody to give him some direction.
October 1, 2022 @ 6:05 pm
Here’s a 12 year old video of Tyler making “crazy facial expressions.” He’s always been facial animated. Maybe the long hair hid his face from the casual fan.
He’s as woke and religious as he’s ever been. It’s just you didn’t agree with Long Violent History or listen to his music close enough to hear.
He hasn’t change anything about himself. He’s been reverting back to the person he was and looked like before Purgatory.
October 1, 2022 @ 8:43 pm
I think u hit on something here
October 1, 2022 @ 6:24 pm
I don’t think I’ve ever gone out of my way to comment on any review because I can always respect someone else’s opinion on a piece of music. But I am here to say this was one of the most hateful takes I’ve ever seen. Rank bullshit? I’m not kidding when it I say it massively turns me off from reading anything ever posted on this site again.
October 1, 2022 @ 7:26 pm
Though I would respectfully disagree with the characterization of this review as a “hateful,” I do appreciate your feedback, and thank you for commenting.
Luke the Drifter
October 2, 2022 @ 3:04 pm
I love the polite response but I on the other hand appreciate your willingness to call BS on favored sons when need be. Too many reviewers might as well be doing press releases.
October 1, 2022 @ 6:38 pm
“iF yOu DoN’t LiKe It, DoN’t LiStEn To It.”
Gotta love the comments from those who 1) want Trigger to review the new album until 2) it turns out the album sucks and should never have been released. This thing is horrendous and Trigger is spot on.
I am not gaptooth snodgrass
October 1, 2022 @ 7:27 pm
Disclosure: die hard Tyler & Food stamps fan.
The third disc or whatever you want to call it is just horrible. Horrible. Burn that crap.
So psyched for an official release of a cover of “old country church”. Highly let down about “take my hounds to heaven”. I have heard this live and online so many times and was expecting to be blown away. I like Triune God. I will give Purgatory a good review. I like “heart you be tendin”.
I can’t expect “bibles & bottles” and “purgatory” type albums every time from Tyler & Food Stamps. It’s not going to happen.
I hope that the Dead will grant Tyler & Food Stamps the rights to do a release of “the greatest story ever told”.
I still wish I flew out again for Red Rocks this year. Did it last year for night 2 and what I witnessed was incredible and I wasn’t higher than the grocery bill.
Long Violent History is still horrible.
October 1, 2022 @ 8:29 pm
Hey Trigger and SCM fam, thank you for finally creating a space on the internet for this conversation. Among my little circle of friends, I’m the guy people look to for playlists and I’ve fielded several texts asking “What do you think of the new Tyler Childers?”
In fact, before I saw you’d published this today, I was thinking about adding a review to my personal website.
That said, most of my thoughts to-date centered around two things:
1) The content itself.
2) The form.
1. The Content
I’ve wondered where along the lines of sincere to satire this album lands since the second I heard it. Dating back to ‘Bottles and Bibles’ and ‘Purgatory’ (the songs!), I’ve wondered what direction TC’s trajectory would lead. It’s clear he has questions about traditional Evangelical faith, and he’s brought them up in tales of tormented preachers and of young men doing what young men do before tongue-in-cheek celebrating news of a “middle ground I think would work for me.”
This new album, upon first blush, felt like another installment in his chaotic path towards exploring religious themes using gospel sounds and secular lyrics. This is a tale as old as time, everything from the Delta Blues to Jerry Lee to the Louvin Brothers to modern day R&B have explored the tension between learning how to sing in church and singing about the things church told us not to do.
I wanted my review to lean heavily into the exploration of musicianship and irony and the tension between a “gospel” label and a somewhat sarcastic delivery. Where along the lines does this album live? Is it ‘The Christian Life’ by the Louvin Brothers or ‘The Christian Life’ by the Byrds?
Then, as I realized each “version” didn’t actually bring much to the table relative to the Hallelujah versions, I started thinking more about 2. Form.
As a largely streaming audience, the question of value/intent isn’t quite as evident to us. I started to wonder if these would be 3 physically distinct vinyl LPs in a large, expensive set (they are). And, if so, how many additional layers of satire might be rolled into the already dubious universe that Childers has created, with everything from his live tracks that reference bible verses to ‘Universal Sound.’
Is he a universalist? A sarcastic ex-vangelical with a sincere reverence for the stories and sounds of his youth? Is he pulling a straight up Sturgill Simpson by creating material to piss off his record label and trim the fat from his bandwagon?
In terms of the value proposition, this album certainly doesn’t have one in the physical form. Trigger raises a great point… does this “triple album” satisfy RCA’s five-album requirement? Is Tyler Childers straight up copying Sturgill Simpson’s homework in terms of his career trajectory?
Part 3. Context
I’ve also mentioned Eric Church and Sturgill in my text and conversational ‘reviews’ to friends. Artists who intentionally leaned heavily into esoteric creativity, chasing every hare they could and then publishing it as an album. As if they wanted to shed the weight of expectations that were placed on their shoulders after aw-shucks-ing their way into superstardom. I got a bit of that sense from Childers when he released ‘Long Violent History’ and all of the hijinks that unfurled around the time his co-headline tour with Sturgill fell apart due to covid.
It seems like fans in the comments here can confirm the suspicion that he may well be going the Grateful Dead route where studio work becomes increasingly less important and all we can hope is that someday we get a bunch of soundboard bootlegs of live Tyler to fill in the blanks.
In light of Zach Bryan (who, I admittedly am already completely sick of), there seems to be a place in today’s media consumption world for obscenely long albums. I’m not sure why more people haven’t mentioned this about Bryan, but he recycles so many turns of phrase and chord progressions that it sort of feels like people deified a dude strumming a guitar in his dorm room and reward him for rewriting the same song with new lyrics based on Twitter polls.
Childers’ approach to repackaging songs is certainly a bit more calculated and thorough, a la Simpson’s ‘Cuttin Grass’ compilation. There’s *something* going on with the guys who many of us here in the comments seem to pay close attention to. Are we the punchline of some of these artists’ ultimate jokes?
I sincerely enjoy the dialogue in this comments section. Most everyone here has been level-headed and respectful in light of the potential dumpster fire this conversation could become.
Ultimately, I still really love Tyler Childers. I’ll forever treasure the memory of seeing his first show at Cain’s Ballroom back in 2018, and the other places I’ve seen him along the way. And, I can’t help but wonder if he’s treading that fine line of laughing at his serious fans alongside laughing at the bros who are only at the show to hear ‘Feathered Indians’ and the record label who is expectantly waiting for him to release another three ‘Feathered Indians.’
Cool Lester Smooth
October 3, 2022 @ 12:43 pm
Bryan gets plenty of slack for his limitations on the guitar because he’s entirely aware of them, and tends to be the first person to point out that he only knows three chords.
Maybe’s he’s just 8 Mile-ing himself to lower expectations…but the utter lack of pretension, the idea that he’s just a kid with a guitar telling stories, rather some Artiste, is fundamental to his appeal.
October 3, 2022 @ 12:47 pm
Major kudos for the 8 Mile reference. I always thought the self-diss approach was revolutionary in that movie.
I suppose I respect that, I just don’t really jive with the music. He seems to exist in the fanfic ecosystem with all the overt references to Felker, TC, etc. As others have said in the comments, Zach Bryan feels sorta like music for people who only know Whitehouse Road and Feathered Indians.
Nothing wrong with that, but after sorta falling in love with a few of his early early tracks, I feel like I got duped by the rambling and repetitive feature length release. It’s funny how blurry and thin the line can be between imitation and innovation at times. And perhaps that’s the same question we now find ourselves in with regards to ‘Hounds.’
Cool Lester Smooth
October 3, 2022 @ 2:39 pm
For me, bar a few missteps a la “Felker” (which he’s never released officially), Bryan hits that Isbell/Felker/Moreland/Petty/Knopfler/JTE /WCG sweet spot that defines the greater part of my musical taste, haha!
Post Bottles and Bibles/Non-Feathered Indians Childers honestly isn’t in that wheelhouse.
That said, I definitely agree that there are a couple of solid 10 song albums in “American Heartbreak,” along with a single 5 song EP…and he gave us a 34 song album.
October 1, 2022 @ 8:46 pm
Craig has always been my favorite food stamp. His bass playing is such a pleasure to listen to on everything on this album. Killing it
October 1, 2022 @ 8:51 pm
I agree. I’d saying if there is anything redeemable on the third disc, and what jumped out to me as truly different on the second disc from the first, all had to do with Craig’s playing.
October 1, 2022 @ 10:22 pm
Two words-Neil Young
Can’t or won’t comment on your take-go with it and realize it’s this artist at this point in their life so strap in and enjoy don’t over analyze this point in their career, just sayin
October 2, 2022 @ 4:45 am
And someday when there’s a cryptic autobiography – we can read it and get a little bit of our curiosity sated! Huge Neil Young fan, after many years of not being one. Love Childers – saw him live many times 2016 – 2019 – this album is different. But I’m here for it. Everything brings something to the table – if you’re open to it!
October 1, 2022 @ 10:52 pm
Love it. The production is A+. He’s growing and changing as an artist. Mad respect for Tyler and the Food Stamps.
October 1, 2022 @ 11:42 pm
I am so happy your opinion (Trigger) is no more important than mine or anyone else’s! You know what is rank bullshit…the idea that you are some kind of expert on great music!
First of all, to suggest that Tyler Childers is trying to fulfill contractual obligations with RCA is ludicrous, as this counts as 1 release, no matter how many disks or lp’s in the collection! Furthermore, his contract is for distribution only, and you know it!
I have seen Tyler Childers and the Food Stamps at live shows for almost 5 years now, and this band is tight! You won’t find too many other bands out there that are playing at this level. Jesse Wells is a damn fine musician! How many instruments can you play Trigger?
I would have loved to have had a few more songs on this album, but I am happy to finally get a professionally recorded version of Hounds, and Angel Band and Way of The Triune God are great songs! I can’t comment on the Joyful Noise version cause I have not had time to listen to it in it’s entirety!
I get it, you don’t like it, but to shit on his band members and say they can’t play very good is rank bullshit! My hope is that this will get rid of the Feathered Indians and Whitehouse Road crowd from the shows, the ones that only know these 2 songs and these two songs only! Let’s hope Zach Bryan keeps touring, because the Feathered Indians crowd are also huge Zach Bryan fans!!
Looks like your review is doing what you want, driving traffic to your page, getting you the clicks you so desperately need!
October 2, 2022 @ 4:30 am
I can’t seem to figure out how Trigger’s review was tainted in some way to get clicks. I just don’t see it. That said, I totally see how this could help trim the fat of the dumb guy country lovers. Yea I get it – Purgatory was the best ever and he hasn’t done anything good since. That is simply not true at all. What happened was that he evolved and you just don’t get it. Country Squire represented an evolution where he was able to move further into new melodies that did not adhere to traditional patterns, unique phrasing, and other uncharted territories. Personally I am bored like crazy with most gospel albums and this was a clear departure from the norm and very refreshing.
I reply to Strawmen
October 2, 2022 @ 6:20 am
You’re the type to accuse Trigger of hating waffles when he says he loves pancakes.
October 2, 2022 @ 11:01 am
^ This is an EXCELLENT analogy.
October 2, 2022 @ 7:31 am
With all due respect Dragin, you’re out of line with this comment. I know you’ve been a long-time reader and commenter here, and I can understand how some Tyler Childers fans could get heated by this review. But the idea this review is click bait is absurd. I’ve already heard from half a dozen folks who say they’re never reading this site again due to this review. Even if it was generating tons of clicks—which it isn’t—it wouldn’t be worth it in the long run to just trash one of the biggest artists in independent country just to stir controversy. This was an extremely hard, but very important review to write, and I never take writing any review lightly.
Specifically, I am not claiming or reporting Tyler is trying to fulfill contract obligations here. It was simply a passing thought as to why disc three came about. And yes, from what I understand, Tyler Childers owns his own publishing. But just like we saw with Sturgill Simpson, there could be other things at play here that pissed Childers off. I may be completely off base, but I’m still waiting for someone to tell me why songs like “Percheron Mules” and “Luke Chapter 2 Verses 8-10″ did not make this album when they seem to be very specifically written for it, and were performed previously along with the rest of this material. I don’t have an answer for that, but there has to be one.
As far as criticism for the Food Stamps, you’re just flat out wrong. I went out of my way in this review to praise the contributions of the Food Stamps, and in multiple comments subsequently I have defended their work on this album from others who’ve criticized it. I don’t know where you’re coming at here.
And for the record, I am a musician. I have played multiple instruments, and professionally. I don’t talk about it on this site because it’s a conflict of interest. But as I’ve always said EVERYONE has a right to an opinion about music. And I have NEVER said my opinion counts more than anyone else’s. That’s why I have a comments section, and that’s why I continue to engage with commenters in it, to let them know I care about their opinion as well, even if I disagree.
October 2, 2022 @ 8:23 am
I am pretty sure that as a blogger, who blogs about music, the fact that you have been a musician and played instruments is NOT a conflict of interest. I feel that would give a blogger more of an expert opinion towards music being that they are not just a fan who started a blog but a musician with experience in that world. I would take someone more seriously. And honestly at the end of the day, that’s all you are is a blogger with opinions which is perfectly fine but to say you are anywhere near the level of any of the musicians you review is ridiculous. Not that you exactly said that but to act like you can play anywhere near the level of The Professor that’s rank bullshit. I do not see you selling out venues and having a platinum album. I honestly had never even heard of you before this silly little blog.
October 2, 2022 @ 9:14 am
A conflict of interest is presented when I talk about or cover music on Saving Country Music that is either of my own making, or that I have significantly participated in. I very rarely bring up the fact that I am a musician because it inherently leads to either questions about music that I have participated in, or comments like this, that make no sense at all.
Again, I never criticized the Food Stamps. In this review or anywhere else. Conversely, I praised them, not just in the review itself, but in subsequent comments. And I absolutely most certainly never implied that somehow I am a better musician than Jesse Wells or anyone else. This whole thread is based on absurdity and nonsensical arguments.
Furthermore, at times I have specifically selected the respective members of the Food Stamps out for feature. Here I am specifically praising Jesse Wells:
Here I am specifically praising Craig Burletic:
Here’s a dedicated article I wrote just a few months ago talking about CJ Cain joining the band:
To be frank, these kinds of unhinged comments coming from certain Tyler Childers fans are not helping his cause.
Cool Lester Smooth
October 3, 2022 @ 7:37 am
As an unabashed member of the “Zach Bryan crowd,” I know plenty of Childers songs other than Feathered Indians and Whitehouse Road.
I just like Feathered Indians a hell of a lot more than any of the other songs on his last three albums, because it matches vivid lyrics to a compelling hook.
I do think that the “Zach Bryan is just a Childers copycat” crowd exclusively consists of folks who only know Feathered Indians, though – it’s the only song Childers has released since Bottles and Bibles that’s Bryan’s vibe.
David: The Duke of Everything
October 2, 2022 @ 2:33 am
I’m not big on Childers music like a lot are. If you have to dig through an artists catalog to find a couple songs you like them I don’t usually follow them much but everyone has different taste. Far as the review of the album, triggerr seems to make a fair point though I can see others perspectives maybe. Far as the main dsc in this three disc set if you like Childers then this is probably gold. But it is the other two discs where the review is I guess made so to speak. Being just different versions of the other songs, what you think of it is going to depend on your level of fandom. Usually stuff like that is released years after the popularity of an artist has waned or it’s released on live or novelty type albums. If you are a huge fan, then you probably appreciate something like this album. But Triggers review seems to come from the place of someone looking to decide whether this album is worth spending the money on if they aren’t a fan that owns every album. Seems maybe this should have been a multi version release. One just the original version of the songs, an other with the other versions included. Just my thoughts.
October 2, 2022 @ 7:17 am
The comparison here would be Shania Twain’s album “Up!” She released it in three different versions, but all three versions were sold separately. In this case, all three albums are bundled together, with consumers paying $25 for the CD, or $60 for the LP. Now, imagine getting this package, and discovering that there is only one truly new unheard lyrical song in the entire set that you just paid $60 for. There are very technical, price point issues with this release that is behind much of the criticism it is receiving well beyond the music itself, and stuff that people have criticized artists such as Garth Brooks for in the past, which is basically selling the same songs over and over through packaging schemes. This is a very real concern that I am not just making up out of whole cloth, but you’re hearing from people who purchased the physical product. And in this case, this is an important part in reviewing this release.
David: The Duke of Everything
October 2, 2022 @ 1:25 pm
Totally agree. Though I personally don’t have an issue with it for some artist. I mean I’m a huge Beatles fan and I buy all their new deluxe reissues of their albums . I appreciate the better quality of music as well as all the alternate takes I’ve never heard. So I’m willing to pay for that. Now I probably wouldn’t do the same for a country artist though I might for an Alan Jackson special set since he is in the twilight of his career. But a current artist should at least gives multiple price point sets in my opinion.
October 3, 2022 @ 6:46 am
Not to be pedantic about Shania Twain, but Up! was a double album – Green (Country) and Red (Pop) in some markets and Red (Pop) and Blue (International) in others.
October 2, 2022 @ 4:47 am
I feel like this review is highly accurate and should therefore be removed.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:06 am
I think what’s tough is that we all know this album could have been a monster. When I listened to them at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July picnic on Sirius XM this year, I was blown away. I thought Tyler and the band took it to a whole other level. And I expected that to be captured on this record. I feel like if they had released a live album of that show instead, it could have been a 9.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:08 am
I kind of scratch my head. There really is no need for disc 2 and 3. That being said the 8 songs are ok but i would rather have seen him expand upon his direction of his last album. With the momentum he has i’m afraid this one may slow his rise.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:16 am
It seems these days that some of these Americana artists are trying too hard to be clever with these strange releases. Like Sturgil with his stoner rock album, I’m not sure what Tyler is trying to accomplish here. Many country artists release gospel albums in their careers, but usually not this early into their career. Tyler is essentially two albums, not counting live and off projects, into his career. The last album is now 3 years old. It would seem that this would have been a better time to release a new album of original material for his fans and his career. A passion project like this could have been released later.
As it is, I threw Angel Song (Hallelujah Version), the only song I found interesting, into a playlist and moved on. And while this project will probably be successful initially for hardcore fans, I think it will fail in moving Tyler’s career forward in the long run.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:44 am
4/10 is generous. If I’m honest with myself and remove the predjudice I have because his previous art is legendary, this album not rateable. I’d go with an N/A or ‘incomplete’.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:57 am
I prefer the Hallelujah versions to the Jubilee versions. I don’t know what the heck that third disc is supposed to be. It’s definitely not anything I care to listen to. I was so, so hoping that one disc would be bluegrass. I’m pretty bummed that didn’t happen. But, this isn’t really all that bad. I think releasing the 8 Hallelujah versions would have been suffice. After initially hearing Angel Band I wasn’t sure I’d like this, but I am ok with it. And being “ok with it,” I am not splashing out $60 for the vinyl.
October 2, 2022 @ 7:19 am
I for one found favor in this release. Big Childers fan, was at the epic Rupp show in Lexington with Sturgill. He is certainly going through a lot of positive life changes. Fatherhood, sobriety, and it is reflective here. As for disc 3, I’m not sure if it is a Sound and Fury type moment, and obligation breaker, or just to simply express himself and see if he can do it. I don’t see major ramifications from this, this will just leave some hard-core fans a little butt hurt probably. Lol
October 2, 2022 @ 7:38 am
I blame it all on Sturgill. It has his fingerprints all over it. His influence has almost ruined Tyler. Tyler should stick to what got him here.
October 2, 2022 @ 5:17 pm
Do you have any evidence to support this statement or are you just bitching?
October 2, 2022 @ 7:57 am
After listening to the album a few times, I like it. And I’m liking it more with repeated listens.
That said, I only stream now because I downsized out of my albums and turntable. My story may be different if I bought the albums as a set.
Also, how many “genres” has TC hit, and well, at this point? From purgatory to traditional bluegrass to the greasy gospel New Orleans funk to the Beckish electro stuff? It’s a good melange and some of it works better for me than others.
Ultimately this body of work could make for a stellar live show. It could support a few sets, even with different bands, on the same night. Acoustic bluegrass opener, DJ doing electro tinged at set break and a romping Food Stamps rock out for the last set. Who knows what will happen, but the live potential is almost unlimited relative to other indie country bands.
Finally, since this album was announced like a month ago, it could well be that he has another album in the wings. As you and others point out, he has songs that have stayed live only, and he might have stuff that no one has heard yet.
All in all, I like this album. Starting to really like it.
October 2, 2022 @ 8:03 am
Also, Trigger, this may be so obvious as not to merit mention, but doing 3 albums of the “same” songs here reflects the Trinity in a pretty cool and compelling way…
October 2, 2022 @ 2:29 pm
I’m a little ashamed to say I never thought of that!
October 3, 2022 @ 4:43 am
Ok you just woke me up to the fact that maybe there could be another album coming soon! And if so, with “Percheron Mules” and a cover of “the greatest story ever told”. That would be incredible. And if he throws in a cover of “sad song waltzes” with Senora. One can dream, yes?
October 3, 2022 @ 8:41 am
How much with the vinyl package be to get the songs that were supposed to be on this album cost?
October 2, 2022 @ 8:09 am
Long time Tyler fan and happy for his success but goddam I miss the long haired gritty version. I get that songs like whitehouse road have become anthems for douche bags but maybe not everyone who likes whitehouse road is a doucher. I’m all for an artist “growing” but what’s so wrong with wanting more of Purgatory? Maybe some of us just relate more to the long haired gritty Appalachian TC singing about cocaine then we do a clean cut choir boy singing about well whatever this album is. Or maybe I’m just not cool enough to appreciate this album. Oh well, at least us trashy folk still have Leroy.
October 2, 2022 @ 8:55 am
I’ve had the same feelings about Tyler for years now. He peaked with Purgatory, can’t possibly top it and hasn’t come close. He can live off the mailbox money but every album he’s done since that I’ve listened to has one or two songs I like and that’s it. I listened to this driving to Florida yesterday and skipped a ton of it. Spend your time and money on someone like Cole Chaney instead of this
October 2, 2022 @ 10:37 am
It’s a good honest review, I’m a huge Tyler fan boy but this album stinks. The normal versions are decent, but nothing I care to listen to more than once, the other two albums are brutal, especially the old timey voiceover stuff.
October 2, 2022 @ 12:35 pm
4/10 feels like a pretty big overreaction, until you really hit the context of the review, and then I completely understand the perspective on the disappointment.
To me, this is a one disc record. “Hallelujah” is the real album version, and the other two are the product of not having a producer around that will tell you “No.”
Overall, it was good for what it was, I thought – a “gospel” concept album in 2022. Short on new content, but not on quality. Not my favorite release of his by a long shot, but well above the industry wide average.
I do agree with the major go forward point of “please record the damn back catalog you’ve been shelving like a bottle of pappy for a decade”. It’s an entirely fair criticism when you’re charging a premium price for product like the last two releases, barely touring, and rearranging songs into snoozefests.
October 2, 2022 @ 1:35 pm
If this is a 5-song Gospel EP, or even just the first disc alone, it probably gets an 8/10 score. But I have to consider the entire package as a whole, because that’s how it was released. I could get behind the concept of taking the same songs and rendering them three different ways, if that’s what happened here. Take a stripped down version with the Food Stamps, do another version with strings and choruses, and the McCrary Sisters behind you, and then even if you want to do some sort of electric something, that’s not my preference, but whatever. Instead, people feel like this was a marketing and packaging scheme to turn a very small handful of actual new songs into a 24-song deluxe package.
October 2, 2022 @ 2:33 pm
Can’t argue with that at all. I think a lot of people are missing that context too.
I streamed on YouTube Friday morning and managed to listen to Jubillee first. I wanted to jump out of the window by the second “instrumental”. Thankfully, most everything I found clunky, tacky, and overdone in Jubillee was not present in Hallelujah.
Joyful Noise would have been a cool set of B sides to release a month or two from now, direct to streaming. I understand that physical media costs money, but that is not a product that should have been available for pre-order.
Luke the Drifter
October 2, 2022 @ 2:57 pm
A few thoughts:
1) If the three discs were in honor of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost…the Holy Ghost has the right to be offended. I’ve almost never heard such trash and Tyler Childers is one of the most important musical figures in the history of my life so I don’t have any pleasure in saying that.
2) I’ve learned the hard way that when someone releases an album at the level of Purgatory/Southeastern/Metamodern just to give up on assuming they are going to ever top it. You only have one, maybe two genuine career albums in you so all I want is a some more good music. That’s why I stand up for Country Squire. However I think the last two albums are a significant drop in quality. I treated Long Violent History as a pandemic boredom project but this needs to be treated as a true album. I don’t expect another Purgatory but another Country Squire is very doable and I think he could even find another Live at Red Barn in him.
3) I don’t understand why Tyler is so insistent on releasing instrumental music when he’s not that great of an instrumentalist. First LVH and now 12 of 24 tracks are essentially instrumentals besides a few samples of audio. I love his band live and actually love the groove they have moved into live. I think he was heavily influenced by the amazing compilation album series Country Funk; I doubt it is coincidence that he covered two songs from the albums (Tulsa Turnaround and Long Long Time to Get Old) around the same time that his sound changed. But it’s an awesome backing sound to sing over; they’re not quite Booker T. and the MG’s. I was digging the first two or three minutes of Two Coats thinking it was cool but was disappointed that words never came. Jubilee didn’t do anything for me. Also I don’t think the reworking of Purgatory did it justice; the horns didn’t sound good on it (no anti-horn bias here, I loved Sailor’s Guide and listen to jazz and soul often) and it lacked the old fire.
4) Amen to Trigger’s thoughts on the packaging aspect. It really is Garth-like, and while I grew up on Garth, that aspect of his career causes me to feel a little less affection towards him than some guys of that generation. Still a fan but there’s a little latent frustration there.
October 2, 2022 @ 5:56 pm
That motorcycle or dirt bike wreck a couple years back really changed the course of his music career. Tyler Childers is my favorite musician and I’m ride or die..but he just keeps making me scratch my head.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:25 pm
OK so I just listened to the 3rd version of these songs and it’s so Goddamned terrible that I feel like this review wasn’t harsh enough. Seriously awful in a way that if they were kidding it’d make some sense but I think they’re dead serious.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:28 pm
People are talking a lot on these comments about record deals and unrecorded music. There may be something to all of that, but you are missing one big point. Tyler’s sobriety and then delve into psilocybin. Anyone who has ever done a big dose (as in ego death type stuff) of the holy fungi know it changes your perspective on existence. Tyler is not who he was when he was snorting coke and writing Purgatory, and it isn’t as easy to explain as “he got sober and sucks now.” That dude is seeing with a third eye.
October 7, 2022 @ 3:29 pm
I wondered about this. When I heard the Joyful Noise versions, psilocybin was my very first thought with that type of soundscape on a spiritual album. Can confirm – I just went all the way to church on Joyful Noise and a mere 2g. Fucking amazing. I hope everyone can feel something that extraordinary ✨
October 2, 2022 @ 6:39 pm
Respect Trig. I agree 110% with everything you’ve written.
October 2, 2022 @ 6:46 pm
Agree with review basically on all points. Do away with two instrumental songs on hallelujah and throw on Greatest Story Ever Told, Luke chapter 2 verses 8-10, and Percheron Mules, and even an updated version of Bottles and Bibles or Nose on the Grindstone (if he’s feeling generous) and the theme of the album stays intact and it’s a homerun (or at least a triple) imo.
TC has been my favorite artist for years but there’s definitely a downward trend it seems self inflicted or listening to the wrong people.
October 2, 2022 @ 8:17 pm
When you have a few more years of reviewing under your belt–I hate that phrase because who puts anything under their belt?–you will learn that there is always a better way to say things. Especially with English, a language so full of bastardized words and synonyms that even native speakers can’t always get it right, you’re usually going to find that you didn’t say something in the best possible way for all concerned.
For instance, calling a record “rank bullshit.” You can do that, but I’d recommend using the phrase “to my ear” along with it. Because when you say something IS something, you’re saying that’s what it is. Not that that is what it sounds like to you, not that that is your opinion. On the other end of the spectrum is usting the completely watered down “in my humble opinion,” and actually meaning the “humble” part, but who does that? Somewhere in the middle is… not perfection, but a middle ground, a purgatory one might say, of places to land. If you say something is rank bullshit then you are saying that anyone who likes it has a taste for rank bullshit. That may not be what you mean, but it’s what you said. Now, you can say something “sounds to me like rank bullshit,” then that’s cool, you’re giving other people room to have differing opinions without telling their taste sucks rotten eggs.
I’m being fairly tongue in cheek here, btw, but the point stands.
As for Tyler and this album: He’s off the road for the first time he can remember –or can’t remember, considering his newfound sobriety. Spending quality time with the beautiful wife. Getting ready to become a father. He just wants to lay back and enjoy this time that will never come around again, but he’s got all these fans, especially the “Whitehouse Road” crowd, breathing down his neck, impatient as hell for something new. I can’t blame him for putting out something to stop the noise. And maybe he was serious about this album, maybe he had something to say, maybe people should pause and let him say it. Maybe.
Considering his age, he probably doesn’t really get the point about what the album costs in its entirety; he’s speaking from a generation of streamers. It probably never occurred to him that people would want to buy his music in physical copies. I mean, he’s probably thought about it, but more in the dream-addled “wouldn’t it be crazy if…” way than in the “Whoa dude this is so cool” way, so I won’t hold that against him.
One more thing: Sturgill’s bluegrass albums ROCK. “I don’t Mind” is the most beautiful bluegrass song I’ve heard in a long, long, time. It’s fine though, Sturgill. Bluegrass really needs you more right now than country does. We got ya, fam.
October 2, 2022 @ 9:50 pm
I’ve been reviewing albums at Saving Country Music for going on 15 years. I’ve published over 7,500 articles, and have been reviewing about 120 albums each year since 2013. When I wrote this review, I knew it would be scrutinized, and I also knew it would likely be the most important review I wrote all year. I always choose my words very wisely, and if I call something “bullshit,” it’s because that’s what it is, and the gravity of characterizing something with such harsh language is not lost on me.
I’ve seen quite a few folks on Twitter isolate that “rank bullshit” line, and use it to mischaracterize this 20+ paragraph review. But the reason they’re isolating that line is because they don’t want you to see the rest of the review. The packaging of this album is indefensible. Leaving out songs like “Percheron Mules,” “Luke Chapter 2 Verses 8-10,” is nonsensical. Including two instrumental interludes, and only one true unheard lyrical song is pretty terrible. So in lieu of salient defenses against these criticisms that the majority of Tyler Childers fans agree with, you attack the messenger, and the fans as being closed-minded Morgan Wallen fans who only want to hear “Whitehouse Road” over and over. Why didn’t they include the 3rd version of “Angel Band” in the pre-release? It’s because they knew it would be criticized, and turn off people from purchasing this set. There are some very technical issues with this release, and fans deserve someone to give voice to them.
This is a consumer issue as much as a musical one. Right now there are three customer reviews on Amazon, and they’re all 1 star. That’s a problem. Tyler Childers is supposed to be the guy to takes care of his fans better than the mainstream stars. I don’t think any of this was done due to greed on Tyler’s part. But major missteps were made, and they deserve criticism.
October 2, 2022 @ 8:21 pm
Replaying to my own self to add, because I forgot it the first time:
I’m happy for Tyler with his new family and his sobriety, but damn he looks awful. He’s thin as a rail and his face is bony. How do you wind up with a bony face? Someone get Tyler a cheeseburger.
October 3, 2022 @ 1:08 am
Wait, I said nothing about Morgen Wallen.
I haven’t seen anything on Twitter either way since I haven’t been only Twitter for a while. Maybe I should have been.
Whether a person chooses their words *wisely* or carefully is, like musical taste, totally subjective. You might be careful, but that doesn’t guarantee that the rest of the world will think they are wise. I think that 99% of the time they are though–of course, it’s natural that I’d agree with you about 99%, since that’s about how often I either agree with you, or learn from you.
See what I did there?
I think maybe you started out replying to me and then moved along to other people or something because I didn’t say anything about Morgen Wallen (I barely know who he is; radio doesn’t catch me listening to contemporary country) and a large part of the post seems to be defending the “rank bullshit’ phrase. I just want to point out in your review, “rank bullshit” applied to the Joyful Noise, but the other two were at least “okay.” More or less. Otherwise, I rest my case on that one.
Anyway I do hope that your post was largely replying to other people as well as me because I didn’t see myself as “attacking” you at all. It’s just that that is one of my pet peeves, even when I agree with what’s been said: My next door neighbor might think that yellow looks good on me. I think it looks like complete and utter bullshit, which about 5 degrees higher on the bullshit scale than mere “rank bullshit.” I don’t CARE if my husband doesn’t like my favorite TV shows; no one died and made him King of TV Shows and that doesn’t mean I have a “taste for shit,” see what I mean? No, my husband never said anything about my TV shows. I don’t watch TV, and he’s too nice to do that. I hate it when people say that X sucks if X is music, a color, a food, etc., ; something that is completely judged by opinion and not by facts. I’m extremely annoyed by it. I wasn’t defending the album; I haven’t listened to it yet. I just hate for someone to insinuate that my taste sucks if I listen to it and happen to like it. Grrr! 😛
Also, you don’t need to defend your work here; I mostly think it’s pretty great. But you still can’t judge yourself as being wise or choosing wisely. I mean, you can but….
October 3, 2022 @ 8:39 am
I commonly use people’s comments to piggy back off of and say other things I feel need to be said. Where I am seeing reaction to the “bullshit” comment and getting pull-quoted is on Twitter, so that’s what I’m reacting to. I’m also seeing a lot of classist assumptions that people who don’t like this album are just “Morgan Wallen fans” in that same vein. I appreciate you commenting and sharing your own perspective.
October 3, 2022 @ 4:59 am
He like most artists had a great debut album he was crafting for years. Then when it comes time to start recording as a professional, you find out they are just mediocre. Happens all the time….
October 3, 2022 @ 6:17 am
$60.00 for one song seems kind of high.
October 3, 2022 @ 7:25 am
Agree with your review completely. But remember when you went to war in the comments of your initial review of Angel Band, saying this was 1000% a “Gospel” record? lol. Not even remotely Gospel, in my opinion. It kind of annoys me how he straddles the fence on religion. He uses it when it suits him, then rejects it when it suits him. Trying to appeal to a broad crowd by being wishy washy on faith is kind of distasteful. One listen was enough for me.
October 3, 2022 @ 8:44 am
Yes, I went to war, and I was wrong. Never in my life did I think that since he was only including eight songs, two of them would be musical interludes, and the third disc would be whatever it is. That clearly took the “Gospel” material well below the 51% threshold here. But hopefully people see that I didn’t come to this album with any sort of bias. I was pleading for folks to wait and listen before passing judgement. Well, we did, and those early concerns ended up being right.
October 3, 2022 @ 8:36 am
Been following along with the… spirited comments on this one.
Just wanted to pipe in and say I appreciate the honesty, Trigger. SCM is one of my most referenced sites each day and has been the catalyst of me discovering some of my very favorite artists in and adjacent to country music.
Not sure why people feel the need to get so hurt over someone’s else’s review which should in no way impact the level of enjoyment they themselves should have with a product, or an album in this case, but I digress..
October 3, 2022 @ 8:45 am
Thanks for reading Beau. I think for the most part, the comments have been very civil here. It’s Twitter where it’s been a little rough, though even there you’re seeing a lot of people concur with my opinions.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:25 am
I get a lot of the criticism here even without hearing all the record, listening to the samples I doubt ill be playing the third disc very often and is there a lot of difference apart from some of the instrumentation on some of the songs? obviously i havent heard it properly so what do I know? But I do know that Tyler has a lot of other gospel songs that could have been recorded for this project rather than using the same songs again so even without hearing the record (and I will soon} it sounds a bit self indulgent.
im prepared to eat my words.
October 3, 2022 @ 2:04 pm
Maybe I’ll just linger here in purgatory.
October 3, 2022 @ 2:34 pm
I love this album. Old Country Church sounds nothing like Hank’s. I love Hank’s original version but Tyler’s is legit – both Hallelujah and Jubilee. I love these renditions of Purgatory too. And Two Coats (also a cover). All of it. In my opinion the Food Stamps are also phenomenal on this album. I’m about a dozens turns into it. I don’t see the flaws other than lack of new material… for me it’s quality over quantity. Trigger, say what you will but I think your review was fair but I also think you’re overreacting to whatever blowback you may receive. Who cares?
October 3, 2022 @ 3:07 pm
Long time Tyler fan, and was really looking forward to this new album. But I keep scratching my head. I will say though, I played “Angel Band” on repeat for about 10 days straight. Fantastic song. The multiple releases of this album is just overwhelmingly confusing, and left me wanting the more familiar Tyler tracks. Hopefully we can all look back in a few years and talk about this as an interesting chapter in his musical biography.
October 3, 2022 @ 4:53 pm
I appreciate the honest review. Childers was taken for the messiah. Maybe he isn’t who we thought he was (anymore). Maybe he is in a rut. Maybe sobriety is hurting (temporarily we hope) his writing or process. I think what is probably hurting him the most is that he isn’t making country music. Very few artists can actually pull off multiple genres, and this isn’t the same genre as previous successful works of his, regardless of what you call it. It was like when Sturgill Simpson one day thought he could be the Black Keys (or whatever he was attempting) and failed miserably.
Look at Hellbound Glory…Leroy floundered with demos and lackluster songs for about six years until Shooter showed up and helped him put out three consecutive killer records. Let’s hope Childers comes back with the same force. Could be he just needs the right producer to bring out his best.
October 3, 2022 @ 5:11 pm
One big thing I’ve noticed is the parallels between the arc of Tyler’s career and Sturgil’s. They both started out at their highest point with absolute killer, paradigm shattering albums. They both released one after that, which was good but obviously a step down. They have both also took wild detours down total different paths, what with TC doing this and the long violent history and sturgil doing his foray into arena rock and his bluegrass remake of old songs. Both of these divergent paths could possibly be explained by the “trying to be a true artist and go against the grain” shtick. And then idk if this is playing a major role in it or not, and I’m not trying to drag this into a dumb political thing.. but I think it’s worth noting that TC and SS both have pretty different views on politics than their fans in aggregate. Maybe the whole experience changes who these people are/were when they did their best stuff and maybe they really don’t like their audience now and it’s a way to put it on autopilot and milk what support and money they can from it
Oh and they both toured together.
October 3, 2022 @ 9:02 pm
Fact is, most creative types are liberals, and Tyler never shoved it down anyone’s throat as far as I know. Personally, I don’t care for BLM, and I am hoping for vote for as many Forward Party candidates as I can, though I’d vote for Romney or Cheney over the pronoun squad. All that said, I didn’t find a damn thing TC said on that YouTube commentary about the police and black people a bit offensive. I didn’t find it political myself.
October 3, 2022 @ 9:53 pm
Yeah, most creative folks ARE iberals that’s why country music SUUUUCKS!! I’m just kidding. I think if God intended us all to be the same he would have given us all the same face. Let’s continue to try and Understand and Love each other rather than judge and condemn.
October 4, 2022 @ 3:50 am
Well, maybe your right. I was just speculating. But I stand by the fact that these are way different people now than when they wrote the songs that shook a genre. It would be impossible not to be. Maybe there’s only one great album like that in somebody, and it comes when you’re poor and hungry.
October 3, 2022 @ 9:26 pm
I collect vinyl and I own Purgatory, Country Squire and Red Barn and I Love all 3. Thankfully I can also stream music so I am able to determine if I really wanna own a physical vinyl copy of a particular release before I go out and spend money on it. I was not interested in getting Long Violent History or this new $60 three LP package. I view both as artistic statements more than something I’m intrested in listening to front to back for years to come. It’s my belief that Tyler is as much an artist as he is an entertainer. What I’m struggling with (as I think many of his fans are) is…What exactly is he trying to say with this new release? Is it a commentary of the current state of reality and the role the great beyond plays in it? Is it simply a device intended solely to spark debate? Is it a reaction to the absurdity of the corporate music industry and how it mirrors the worst parts of humanity? This release raises A LOT of questions and I’m enjoying contemplating those and reading others opinions on it more than I did listening to it. Keep it real…Keep it civil!
October 3, 2022 @ 9:27 pm
“Fact is, most creative types are liberals, …”
UNTRUE. A fallacy.
Most American publishing houses are owned and backed by rabid liberal entities.
There is an “understanding” within these publishing houses, that an author WILL tow the line.
It is downright entertaining to read in just about every book out there, Clinton Street this, Clinton Avenue, that, … Clinton, ….. pick any number of subjects.
Some of my favorite authors are Direct Deposit puppets.
Hey, if they don’t have the balls to stand up to the publishing houses …
I might read some of their books, but that doesn’t mean I respect them.
John Grisham is one of the worst.
Clive Cussler, especially in his latter books, gave the publishing houses a stiff middle finger.
Cussler still has the respect of a lot of his fans. Even posthumously.
That being said, you have the same insistent, strong arming politics in the American recording industry. Look at what a shit show it has become.
I guarantee most “creative types” are not liberal.
There is a wonderful mix of creative minds across the board, globally.
October 3, 2022 @ 9:43 pm
Let’s not veer off into politics here please. There is plenty to discuss with this release without wading into divisive subjects. Thanks!
October 3, 2022 @ 10:03 pm
October 3, 2022 @ 10:04 pm
Im still listening to it and trying to decide how I feel about this album. I feel that there’s a lot I like on the first disc but nothing really jumps out at me like anything on Tyler’s first three albums or even Long Violent History. I guess I miss the sound he had going with the Food Stamps before on the last two albums, but I respect the decision to branch out in style.
That being said I don’t care for the redux of Purgatory. The original is just way better.
As for the Jubilee disc, it’s just not my style. I prefer stripped back music with out the pomp and circumstance, but idk maybe after a few listens it’ll draw me in.
I don’t care for Joyful Noise at all to be honest. I mean I appreciate the outside of the box approach and there is some ambience but I feel like it would have been better to get that as a side project or something. Ultimately I wouldn’t feel like I got my monies worth for a three-disc vinyl copy.
I don’t hate it and I like some of the first disc but eh, it’s a bit of a let down for me.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:14 pm
Thank you Trig. I am happy to see you call it like it is. Tyler has been piggybacking off Purgatory so long that it unfortunately seems like a legendary album released by a dude only riding on Sturgill’s coattails.
October 3, 2022 @ 11:49 pm
Hello. Long time reader, first time poster*.
If I paid $60 for the vinyl, I’d be annoyed. But I paid $12 for the downloads and got my money’s worth. As a stand alone, the Halelujah album is worth that admission price. And I didn’t have three pieces of plastic shipped to the other side of the planet.
*Let me say that I am constantly impressed by the variety of music reviewed on this site. My collection is much better because of it.
October 4, 2022 @ 7:28 am
Thanks for reading RayG.
I totally agree there will be a divide between the folks who just stream or download the record, and those who spent $60 on the vinyl just to get to the 3rd album and immediately feel buyer’s remorse. If these albums had been separated out, this review may have gone a completely different way, but it’s my obligation to review the entire package.
October 4, 2022 @ 1:44 pm
Kyle truly is a critic to his core. That core containing nothing but “rank bullshit”. I laugh so hard when a pure consumer calls something a real artist did a “misstep”, as if you have any clue what path he was trying to or wanted to step on.
October 4, 2022 @ 2:49 pm
I think that we were a lot of country music fans waiting for this album. Your review is honest and I share your views about this record. I don’t know why Tyler Childers decided to release such an album, including this third version that is awful, in my opinion. It’s so far from Childer’s authenticity and creativity. We all know that he can do such better music and has proved it with the brilliant “Purgatory”. This album is really a disappointment, for all the reasons that are mentioned in this review.
October 4, 2022 @ 7:30 pm
Came across this today. From the man himself
October 4, 2022 @ 8:40 pm
Per your post, clicked on the link you provided.
Watched it, then sat back and really listened to, Way Of The Triune God.
Tyler is onto something here.
Way of the Triune God. Going to stop just short of calling it brilliant.
: D Get it, Brother Ty.
Don’t get cute with it. Tell it straight up.
God go before you.
This tri release is worth the 60 bucks if it touches just one soul.
October 5, 2022 @ 1:49 pm
Gave the third disk a listen to see what could make someone so vitriolic, found something that
just sounds like a naff British electronica album from 1995. I won’t listen to it again, but your reaction now seems entirely bizarre. Do you genuinely not have the musical vocabulary to talk about this sound in any sort of context?
Kids these days, with their boom boxes and heavy metal cassettes.
October 6, 2022 @ 10:42 am
This turd sounds like a crappy version of an Oak Ridge Boys gospel album. Garbage.
October 7, 2022 @ 12:29 pm
1. You and everyone else who does need to stop obsessing over the “revolution of country music” las if it ever went anywhere.
2. You should change your name to Toddler.
October 8, 2022 @ 6:02 am
Maybe because I rarely listen to the radio or watch CMT and don’t read music publications but……I’ve never heard of this guy.
His “Purgatory” album is one of the biggest and most important ever?
What is the criteria for that? Did it win tons of awards? Sell millions of copies? Get universal media praise? Launch a massive tour? Drop multiple hit singles?
I just don’t get it.
October 8, 2022 @ 7:09 am
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.
“Purgatory” did win awards. It has sold millions of copies and is Certified Platinum by the RIAA. It did receive universal media praise. It did allow Tyler Childers to book and sell out multiple dates in an arena tour with Sturgill Simpson (pandemic cancelled it after a few shows). He does have multiple hit singles, with “Feathered Indians” being Certified Double Platinum, and “Lady May” and “Whitehouse Road” being Certified Platinum. Tyler Childers is a superstar. None of this happened on radio or CMT. They have never supported him. It was all done via grassroots support.
October 8, 2022 @ 11:47 am
All the Upchurch fans that claim to love Childers will genuinely love disc 3’s fruity loops windows 98 edition drum loops.
October 8, 2022 @ 12:17 pm
I’ve seen a lot of folks trying to explain away the concerns about disc three with disparate and conflicting explanations. It’s similar to a strain of Lexington House music. You must be on psilocybin to understand it. It’s inspired by 90s industrial music. I’m not an expert on any of these art forms, but I’m a huge fan of the Grateful Dead, and listened to NIN growing up. Whatever is happening on disc three, its amateur hour, and it comes through in the results. If people enjoy it, awesome. But to me, it sounds like 17-year-olds screwing around with Audacity in a basement, and should have never been proffered for mass consumption.
October 8, 2022 @ 7:06 pm
I think Tyler is at a crossroads in his life as happens to us all. He’s done an incredible job writing and singing some of the best music ever, pretty much stoned and all before the age of thirty. He’s sober, with a child on the way. He’s had terrific success, in a way. But country music radio wasn’t interested. Perhaps he’s at a screw it, I’ll try some new things point. That being said, this album could have been fantastic. But it’s not. TC I’m hanging in there with you. They’ll be lots of new inspiration with the growth of your family. And when you’re ready, we’d really love to hear Hard Times live again. Hearing TC live at the Ryman in 2019 was astounding. When you’re ready, it’s ok to sing those songs again. We’ll be waiting.
October 10, 2022 @ 10:34 pm
Sturgill will go down as both the greatest and worst thing to happen to Childers.
November 3, 2022 @ 7:54 pm
I drove from Canada to KY to see Tyler and Sturgill at the Rupp. Front row. I saw him on every date he did on my side of Canada, even saw Kelsey Walden and Ona. These were some of the best times, I have ever had. Y’all know how this guy gets in your chest and in your head. I appreciate being fortunate enough to witness his evolution. I am not sure what this project is, but I am happy to add this record to the shelf, as a part of the overall journey. There are certainly high spots, when they arrive, they really arrive. The guy just churns out the vocals like nobody else. The interludes evoke a feeling of a story that is yet to emerge, but the following tracks, good as they are, don’t feel connected making them feel sort of extraneous. I love Sturgill as well and at some point remember thinking that his “arena style” of newer arrangements, was starting to be recommended to Childers, in an effort to elevate him from the stool to the stadium, right or wrong. All the old favs had a different pace, the cadence and tempo of the live arrangements started to change, becoming more in alignment with the dancy arena tempos. Again, right or wrong. I love all of it, don’t get me wrong. Now we are presented this. Purgatory, just didn’t hit the same as I remember, even with the snappy tempo and big bass. For all the effort made to try and drag an enlightened reaction out of me with this project, I couldn’t help but focus on what I felt was missing. Distracting. Again, excellent piece in its own right, but my heart is trained to love the stool sitting rendition so it hit me wrong. After a few spins, I enjoy the record. No question. I do listen to it often. The third disc. I supposed I can understand the concept of its creation and inclusion, but here are a host of but’s. My son makes alot of music with samplers etc. I immediately thought, this sounds like someone got an MPC and a Macbook for the first time and the resulting sound was very, unsophisticated. Eerily unsophisticated. Completely devoid of any real memorable moments to even spin it again. Maybe thats the intention, but it was completely lost on me, as someone who regularly hears someone mess around in this same way, with pretty basic “home brew” skillsets and gear. It almost hurt my feelings, embarrassed me on some level, on his behalf. I appreciate your review, I agree with alot of your sentiments and look forward to the days where he has gotten the artistic liberties thing straightened out and brings to the table an album that captures at least in part, some of the magic that set us all on this wild journey together, while still being able to move himself forward as an artist of which few have the pedigree. I love it, but want so bad for it to love it more.
December 17, 2022 @ 7:40 am
The third disc rules. What an embarrassing rant about it.