Tyler Childers is currently one of the top artists from the wave of Kentucky musicians making a positive difference in country music. And just like many of the artists from one of the most impoverished and forgotten regions of the United States, he’s using of his good fortune in the music business to give back.
The 27-year-old from Lawrence County, Kentucky recently became concerned about the cause of many of his fellow rural Kentucky residents regularly losing access to clean water. Though the water crisis in Flint, Michigan became a national story, Kentucky’s water woes have flown under-the radar, with residents in Kentucky’s central Appalachia region regularly witnessing discolored water coming from their pipes, receiving notices about the unhealthy nature of the water, and having to collect rain water for washing and bathing. Meanwhile water bills for residents are spiking, going up as much as 44 percent in some cases.
It’s estimated that 3 out of every 4 gallons of water is lost due to aging infrastructure in Kentucky’s Martin County. Tyler Childers, who is from nearby Lawrence County, became concerned with the issue via the Martin County Water Warriors, which chronicles and catalogs the water issues of local residents. “People will steal water, people will pawn water. Water is a commodity here. It is as good as cash,” says BarbiAnn Maynard of the Martin County Water Warriors.
Seeing how many people were suffering from the issue, Childers decided to step in to help raise awareness about the problem, and to offer a sizable donation to help ease the burden local residents are experiencing. On Saturday (12-22), Tyler Childers will be at the Roy F. Collier Community Center in Inez, Kentucky to personally deliver 500 cases of water to local residents between noon and 3:00 p.m., as well as to play a special acoustic performance.
Jimmy Don Kerr, chairman of the Martin County Water Board, said that Childers reached out to them to see how he could help. “It’s a big deal for someone like Tyler Childers to help raise awareness,” says Kerr. “I think he has a real passion for the water situation. He’s one of us. For him to be that concerned about it and actually do something—actually put an action to it—is a big deal.”
Tyler Childers recently announced a new round of tour dates. Individuals wanting to attend his acoustic performance in Inez, Kentucky are asked to bring a gallon or case of water as a suggested donation.