The magic of what makes Tyler Childers able to write country songs that seem to resonate so deeply with listeners is not rocket science. The reason Tyler Childers and other Kentucky-born songwriters are currently acting like the spearhead in the effort to save country music is because they’re singing what they know about. While the rest of the world rabidly works to modernize and gentrify, much of The Bluegrass State, for better or worse, seems to be stuck in time, and the rural traditions are still alive in the hills, hollers, and valleys.
Even if you don’t live in the country and are surrounded by the tall buildings and outstretched concrete of a big city, the perspective and authenticity that Tyler Childers captures in his songs still speaks to you because it’s so true to itself, and helps transport you to a time and place apart from the mundanity of everyday life. While so many of the contemporaries of Tyler Childers—including quite successful ones that listeners also connect with deeply—have chosen to move to Nashville because that’s where the business and opportunities are, Tyler Childers has elected to remain in Kentucky.
In a recent interview with Spotify, Tyler Childers explained the logic behind his decision to not move to Music City, yet is still able to be successful enough to score a #1 album with his most recently release, Country Squire.
“If I’m writing for a place specifically, then I need to be fully immersed in that place ’cause there’s little things, turns of phrases, and nuances of a lifestyle that if you’re off six, seven hours away in a big city, how do you get to witness that if you’re not there? Nashville’s an extremely necessary place for what we’re doing, being in the music industry. But as far as if you’re just wanting to write songs, and country songs especially, why would you move to the largest growing and developing city in the nation to write ‘country’ songs about rural life? Once you’re immersed in that, then there’s just a disconnect to the reality of what country life is.”
This is a similar philosophy to one Tyler Childers has shared before. Right before the release of Country Squire, Tyler said, “The problem with country is we’ve turned the props into the play. Let’s not just Solo cup and pickup truck it to death. Let’s handle this in a smart way. Nobody is thinking about lyrical content, or how we’re moving people, or what’s going on in the background of their minds … It doesn’t make sense to move to one of the biggest-growing cities in the nation (Nashville) to sit in a room with 12 people and write a country song. They’re all singing songs about ‘the place down the road’, but what is that place now?”
Being a full-time musician, Tyler Childers can’t spend all of his time in Kentucky. “There’s being on the road and playing my songs, and having to be out there because that’s where the work is,” Tyler says. “But then as fast as I can I’m turning around and coming back here. This is where I want to be.” That is also what gives you confidence that unlike some other artists that as soon as they find some success, seem to hopscotch away from their country roots, Tyler Childers will stick close to them.
Also part of the Spotify feature, Tyler Childers gives a tour of the actual “Country Squire” travel trailer that the new album is named after, and where he wrote the song of the same name (see below).
Being a country fan these days can sometimes feel like the life of a jilted lover. You’re just waiting to be let down when your favorite artist decides to veer off the page. But with Tyler Childers, he’s insured that he will stay grounded to his country roots, and hopefully will continue to release songs that speak deeply to them, and speak deeply to all of us regardless of where we live for years to come.
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