Tyler Childers On His Music: “I’m Calling It Country”

Senora May & Tyler Childers (via Tyler Childers Instagram)

Tyler Childers has had one whirlwind of a week. Currently touring through Europe, he flew in express to Los Angeles to attend the Grammy Awards where his song “All Your’n” was up for Best Country Solo Performance, eventually losing to Willie Nelson and “Ride Me Back Home.” There’s no lost dignity in that.

“Went over to Grammy’s house and found her with Willie Nelson…can’t blame her though,” Childers said after the show. “Had a blast taking the lady out. She looked beautiful, and I’m a lucky man. Saw Lizzo perform, which good Lord…she’s a bad woman! Totally worth the flight from Norway just to see that. Caught a brief yack with the Mr. and Mrs Prine and hugged Shooter Jennings neck. Thanks to everyone for the words of encouragement and all the support. Now back to the road, and the honest work.”

Hanging out at the Grammys was not the only high-profile appearance Tyler Childers made recently. The Kentucky native was featured on NPR’s World Cafe on Monday during a 30-minute segment, and once again voiced his concerns for the state of country music, and how he feels Americana is more of a distraction than a solution.

“Well, I was intending to ruffle some feathers I suppose,” Childers said about his moment during the 2018 Americana Music Awards when he accepted the Emerging Artist of the Year award, and later said Americana “Ain’t no part of nothing” after the announcer mispronounced his name.

“It was at The Ryman, which is the Mother Church of Country Music, and they’re holding the Americana Awards, which I feel is a big hindrance in maintaining true to roots country music,” Childers told World Cafe. “Everybody always talks about the state of country music and puts down commercial country like something’s got to be done, and they need to be elevating artists that are doing more traditional country, and then we’re not calling those artists country artists. We’re put into this Americana thing, which is what it is, and I don’t really know how to define what Americana is. We’re our own thing, it’s a new time, and I don’t know what it’s called, but I’m calling it country. I think a lot of times, it’s kind of become just a costume.”

Tyler Childers also spoke on the program about the importance of humor in country music. “It’s important to show all the human experience. And in order to do that you got to have humorous songs and sad songs. Somebody that encouraged me to not take myself so seriously was John Hartford.”

After Tyler Childers gets back from Europe, he’ll be embarking on a big arena tour with fellow Kentuckian and producer Sturgill Simpson (see dates).