Kentucky songwriter and performer Tyler Childers has just released what might as well be considered his debut album Purgatory via Thirty Tigers, and for an independent artist with virtually no radio play and no national television exposure, Purgatory has sold through surprisingly well.
Purgatory has debuted at #5 on the Billboard Country Album Sales chart that tracks pure sales of albums, as well as #17 on the Billboard Country Albums chart that factors in streaming along with sales data. Tyler also debuted #28 on the overall Billboard 200 Sales chart, and #1 on the New Artists chart.
“This is huge for a debut album,” co-producer Sturgill Simpson said about the accomplishments. “I could not be more proud or happy for this young man as he is truly deserving of what’s to come. I’m also glad to see so many media outlets giving all the props to Tyler…far too often producers get way too much credit for an artist’s work and a producer is only as good as the artist they work with.”
Sales are estimated at about 5,500 for the album, with 6,000 factoring streaming equivalents.
Tyler was introduced to Simpson by Sturgill’s drummer and bandleader, Miles Miller, who is also a Kentucky native. David Ferguson, who’s worked on albums from Johnny Cash as well as Sturgill’s projects—and is the mastermind of Nashville’s recording studio The Butcher Shoppe where Purgatory was recorded—was also a producer on the album.
The band assembled for the album included well-known fiddle player Stuart Duncan, guitar and pedal steel player Russ Pahl, as well as Miles Miller on drums, Sturgill on acoustic guitar and backing vocals, among other players.
Tyler has been making a name for himself for many years playing regionally in Kentucky and West Virginia, including appearances on NPR’s Mountain Stage and opening slots for Kelsey Waldon and Colter Wall, and released a couple of live albums that garnered him a strong grassroots following. When Purgatory was released, fans finally had an outlet for their patronage, and the patience and dues paid by Tyler Childers paid off.