- 21 Aug 17
Although he hails from the wilds of Kentucky, Tyler Childers’ heart, on this debut album, would appear to be as much in Bakersfield as it is in neighbouring Nashville. This is country and bluegrass music with the heart and grit left in, not studio buffed to a homogenised FM sheen.
A touring veteran at the younger-than-it-used-to-be age of 26, Tyler appears to be no stranger to the temptations of the road, with several songs, such as opener, and sure fire honky tonk hollerer, ‘I Swear (To God)’ referring to all the good stuff – booze, drugs and young ones. This love of getting down is tempered by his obvious worship for wife Sonora May, with whom he has toured in the past. He celebrates her, physically, in ‘Feathered Indians’, although he does turn up to her house out of his head. In the tender ‘Lady May’, meanwhile, she is his “only hope for heaven.”
Among the love songs, road hymns and even a murder ballad of sorts in ‘Banded Clovis’, ‘Universal Sound’ sticks out as odd. Perhaps someone advised Childers to try for one of those shiny hits. It’s not that it’s bad; it just doesn’t fit.