Tyler Childers Plays Telluride Bluegrass, Adds New Band Member
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Make no mistake about it, Tyler Childers could be selling out arenas coast to coast at the moment. You won’t hear him on mainstream country radio, or see him on the CMAs, but he’s one of the biggest artists in all of country music right now, with his 2017 album Purgatory continuing to be one of the top selling and streaming albums every single week.
But instead of cashing in and selling out, Tyler is selectively playing some of the most legendary festivals and venues in the country. He made an appearance at DelFest a few weeks back, backed up by the Travelin’ McCourys for a bluegrass-inspired set. Then on Friday, June 17th he appeared at the 49th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival with his own band, including a new member in tow.
It was a fiery set of music from Childers, who played some of his most-requested songs that he hasn’t been playing live recently, most notably a solo set where he played his Appalachian ode “Nose to the Grindstone,” and his Certified Platinum single “Lady May.” He also sang some notable covers he’s been featuring in concert lately, namely “I Never Want To Leave This World” from S.G. Goodman, Bob Weir’s “Greatest Story Ever Told,” along with “Tulsa Turnaround” and “Trudy.”
Tyler Childers live has taken both a more funky, and a more religious turn lately. He featured numerous Gospel or Gospel-esque songs in the set, including “Old Country Church” and his crowd pleasing and currently-unrecorded “Hounds To Heaven.” See (mostly) full track list below.
Perhaps most notable, Tyler Childers also introduced a new member into his backing band, the Food Stamps. CJ Cain is known best as the front man and constant in the bluegrass band The Wooks, who incidentally released an excellent record earlier this year called Flyin’ High. The Wooks have regularly played and collaborated with Tyler over the years, and CJ made the trek from Lexington, Kentucky to play acoustic guitar. The Wooks also announced a hiatus in May.
As those who’ve seen Tyler Childers lately can attest, more and more he prefers to lay his own acoustic down, and sing with his hands. Having CJ Cain on the stage helps facilitate that for Tyler. But Cain didn’t just play rhythm. On a couple of occasions he stepped out to offer a solo, which he’s quite adept at doing. His presence definitely helps fill the sound out.
Tyler Childers marked another goal off the bucket list on Friday with his Telluride appearance, and though it’s officially a bluegrass festival, Telluride allowed Tyler to do his own thing, and the crowd clearly appreciated it, with quite a few folks traveling to the fest primarily to see Childers, and everyone roaring their approval at the end.
(Mostly) Full Track List:
1. Country Squire
2. Bus Route
3. Deadman’s Curve
5. All Your’n
7. Space and Time (S.G. Goodman cover)
8. Greatest Story Ever Told (Bob Weir cover)
9. Percheron Mules
10. Born Again
11. Tulsa Turnaround
12. Universal Sound
13. Lady May (acoustic solo)
14. Nose to the Grindstone (acoustic solo)
16. House Fire
17. Old Country Church
18. Hounds to Heaven
20. Some new song maybe?
Luke Bryan Burner
June 18, 2022 @ 1:25 pm
Trigger, the song is called “Space and Time” not “I Never Want To Leave This World”. Not a huge deal but let’s get it right here. It’s a great song and deserves proper credit
June 18, 2022 @ 2:21 pm
Kudos for mentioning his players-significant contributions to the sound, and their mention is such a rarity in music journalism.
June 18, 2022 @ 6:31 pm
Cody Ikerd & The Sidewinders at Hard Truth Hills.
Gorgeous, Gorgeous, Night!
June 19, 2022 @ 9:05 am
I attended Telluride for 21 years and while it is called a Bluegrass festival I wouldn’t necessarily pigeonhole it in that genre. I’ve seen James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Solomon Burke, Los Lobos, Drive By Truckers and David Byrne (who put on a mind blowing set) there, There are plenty of stellar bluegrass musicians who play there but there’s a whole lot more too.
Billy Wayne Ruddick
June 19, 2022 @ 7:21 pm
Damn that’s a beautiful bass that Craig is playing. Takes balls and skill to be bouncing around like that with a fretless electric bass…while still hitting all the right notes.
June 20, 2022 @ 3:37 pm
Won’t hear his songs on the radio, or see him at the CMAs? I guess it’s true what “they” say… Life ain’t fair and the world is mean!
June 21, 2022 @ 10:45 am
Interesting on the CJ Cain news. Never been a huge Wooks fan, but always thought they were good musicians.
This new, guitarless, clean cut, clean shaven look of Tyler’s is taking some getting used to.
Was Jesse Wells not playing with them this weekend, or was there just not a good picture of him?
June 27, 2022 @ 5:21 pm
Shameful that Jesse was not mentioned in the article.