It’s been over 3 months since Tyler Childers released his latest record Country Squire, and with all the other landmark releases lately, you could almost forget what a great piece of work it is, and what a victory it was when it crested the Billboard Country Albums chart at #1. But Childers has been putting a renewed push behind the record lately, including appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Thursday night (10-17), and releasing an EP of live renditions of songs and a short film exclusively through Apple Music on Friday (10-18).
Tyler Childers also participated in a rare interview with GQ recently where he went more in-depth about his opinions on the state of country music, and his concerns for Americana more than ever before. “‘Country Squire’ is 100% what I consider ‘real’ country,” Tyler told the magazine. “We have to share a space that’s been taken over—infiltrated, in a sense—by pop country. If you’re going to be in that space, on those charts, you’re going to share the space with those people. But that’s the only way to take the lunch table back.”
As many may remember, in 2018 when Tyler Childers was accepting his Americana Music Association award for Best New Artist, he lambasted Americana term as “…ain’t no part of ‘nothin,” and a distraction from the problems facing country. When asked about how today’s actual country music is often sifted to Americana, Childers responded,
“That’s true, and also, it lessens the agenda for Americana. It weakens the genre over time. What I’ve done with my last two albums is country. I feel that in my heart. What Margo [Price] has done in the past is country. What Kelsey Waldon’s doing is country. What a lot of these artists are doing is country, but we’ve all been pushed over by the wayside into Americana. Nowadays, Americana is synonymous with good country. I say Americana, you just think “good country.” Through time and habit, Americana now sort of means good country. Then you’ve opened yourself up to things that aren’t pop country, but aren’t exactly good country songs, either. They get pushed in there, and it waters down Americana too. Now, pop country is infiltrating the Americana scene as well.”
But Tyler Childers saved his most choice words for what he thinks has happened to country music proper.
“It doesn’t hurt my feelings if you listen to shitty country music. That’s your fault. What I consider country music doesn’t make it the end all be all, but if you ask me my opinion, that’s what you’re going to get,” Tyler says. “A lot of times, you’ll be flipping through country radio and there’s just no substance. Like I’ve said before, it’s all about props: Solo cups or whatever. It’s not about a dude’s work day or someone that lost a good friend or relative. There’s nothing to hold onto when you’re going through something. That’s what music is supposed to do. It’s supposed to help people out … Anybody can listen to what they want, I just don’t have the time or patience for it. I would prefer not to be lumped in with that. If you wanna listen to that and what I’m doing, that’s cool, but if I think something’s garbage I’m gonna say so.”