Tyler Childers Going Gospel on New Album ‘Take My Hounds to Heaven’

Gee, I wonder where you heard talk of this many months ago 😉 .

It’s official now. Tyler Childers is going back to his Gospel roots and religious upbringing in his latest album Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven, which is actually a collection of three albums in a unique concept where all eight songs are rendered three different ways. Announced Thursday (9-8), the 8X3 = 24 tracks of Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven will be released on September 30th in three distinct movements: the Hallelujah version, the Jubilee version, and the Joyful Noise version.

Tyler Childers explained both the inspiration and approach to the album in a statement:

I grew up Baptist and I was scared to death to go to hell. And a lot of that stuck with me. Filtering through that and trying to find the truth, and the beauty, and the things you should think about and expelling all that nonsense has been something I’ve spent a lot of time on.

This is a collection that came together through those reflections. In a lot of ways, this is processing life experiences in the different philosophies and religions that have formed me, trying to make a comprehensive sonic example of that. Working with the same song three different ways is a nod to my raising, growing up in a church that believes in the Holy Trinity: The Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and what that means.

The Father being the root, the place from which everything comes from, and The Son coming to free up some of those things, allowing it to be more open and welcoming. And then you have the Holy Ghost once The Son is gone… that feeling that’s supposed to keep us sustained until we are reunited, in whatever way that looks.

In other words, Tyler Childers is keeping the beauty and hope in humanity inherent in the Christian faith, but ditching the fire and brimstone that result in much of the guilt and judgement people place upon themselves and others in certain interpretations of the religious texts.

Sonically, what makes Take My Hounds to Heaven special compared to Tyler’s previous works is he’s employing his long-time backing band The Food Stamps to help him render these three separate interpretations of theses songs. With his two recent studio records (not including Long Violent History), producer Sturgill Simpson worked with outside studio players on Tyler’s songs. No producer for the project has been named at this point, but it’s not Simpson.

The Food Stamps are bass player (and head bobber) Craig Burletic, drummer Rodney Elkins, “The Professor” Jesse Wells on guitar and fiddle, James Barker on regular and steel guitar, Chase Lewis on keyboards, and newest member, CJ Cain on acoustic guitar.

Offering up three separate version of the same songs is rather unique in the country and roots realm, however common it might be in the world of electronic music. Shania Twain did record three versions of all the songs on her album Up!, but peak commercial application is not exactly what Tyler Childers is going for here. It’s more a part of Tyler’s artistic expression through offering separate versions.

Of the eight songs, some will already be familiar to the audience. “Old Country Church” is an old Hank Williams song. The title track has been sung by Tyler Childers in concert for years now. “Purgatory” was the title track to Tyler’s 2017 album. “Way of the Triune God” and “Angel Band” (listen below) have both been featured live before as well.

Some may feel a little unfulfilled by only receiving eight songs on the new album, no matter how many versions of them they’re getting. Tyler’s last album, 2019’s Country Squire only had nine tracks as well, while Tyler has numerous original tracks he’s featured live over the years that remain unrecorded.

But Tyler Childers also remains bound and determined to continue to take an unconventional approach to a career that has seen him rise to one of the most popular artists in country music without the benefit of radio or major awards, while drawing fans live on the arena level. Some pointed to the subtle, but present drug and demonic imagery of Country Squire as troublesome from the Kentucky native. Now it appears he’s found religion again, and is ready to share that with a flock that has earned him multiple Certified Platinum records from the pulpit of an independent artist.

Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven? is now available for pre-order through Tyler’s Hickman Holler Records/RCA.

TRACK LIST:

LP 1 – Hallelujah

Old Country Church
Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?
Two Coats
Purgatory
Way Of The Triune God
Angel Band
Jubilee
The Heart You Been Tendin’

LP 2 – Jubilee

Old Country Church
Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?
Two Coats
Purgatory
Way Of The Triune God
Angel Band
Jubilee
The Heart You Been Tendin’

LP 3 – Joyful Noise

Old Country Church
Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?
Two Coats
Purgatory
Way Of The Triune God
Angel Band
Jubilee
The Heart You Been Tendin’

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