Music

Tyler Childers Unleashes Some Feel-Good Vibes Out on 'Country Squire'

Photo: David McClister / Sacks & Co.

With Country Squire, Tyler Childers creates a feel-good country record to close out the summer. It's not too late to throw a party, and Childers will keep you swinging.

Country Squire
Tyler Childers

Hickman Holler / RCA

2 August 2019

This could be the big breakout year for Tyler Childers. He's been knocking on the door of broader fame since the 2017 release of his record Purgatory, which was produced by Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson. The album ended up on a number of year-end "best country albums" lists, including NPR, Rolling Stone, and Wide Open Country. That record, a collection of autobiographical, Southern gothic noir song sketches struck a particular chord with fans of old school, "don't get above your raisin'" country fans.

Now, RCA has put its weight behind the indie label that nurtured Childers' debut, and Simpson and Ferguson return to produce the follow-up, Country Squire. Another collection of true to yourself songwriting, Childers offers up an individual perspective on this good-times country record custom-made for a back porch party or driving to a hidden swimming hole with friends or a lover. Counter to the cliched country narrative, the Kentucky-born Childers sings about a happy marriage and his dreams of building a positive future for himself and his family. This is the music of the hills and for the hills and any sense of escape is that of moving from troubles and into the embrace of home.

In the opening song that gives the record its name, Childers sings about being on the road and missing his loved ones, the loneliness and inconvenience of the musician's life made bearable by his knowledge that he's "turnin' them songs into two by fours" which will someday make his dream of "a cabin and a family on a hill" a reality. If he can't physically build his homestead yet, the troubadour's work is one day going to put a roof over his head (and one, it seems, he's fixing to build with his own hands when the time comes).

Childers' passion guides this record in ways that hit the heart, the gut, and even the funny bone. "House Fire" is a song of passion, a wish that he and his lover will with joyful regularity metaphorically burn their house down in their unrelenting heat. "All Your'n" is a tribute to mature and persistent love, of the shared journey true lovers take and the signposts along the way. Wedding DJs be ready: you will hear many requests from couples to play this song for their first dance. Then, there's "Everlovin' Hand", which answers the question of how one quells those natural desires while living the rock 'n' roll lifestyle of the road.

Also returning from Purgatory to play on Country Squire are Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin, banjo), Miles Miller (drums, background vocals), and Russ Pahl (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pedal steel, Jaw harp, baritone). Recorded in only two days, the unit plays tight yet carefree bringing an airiness to the songs. This is a true feel-good country record that should generate repeated play. Childers is the real deal; the joy and grit in these songs are pure hill country. Life ain't always easy, but it is always what you make it; that's a lesson Childers has learned from his place and people, and he shares it here with aplomb.

8
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

The Kinks and Their Bad-Mannered English Decency

Mark Doyles biography of the Kinks might complement a seminar in British culture. Its tone and research prove its intent to articulate social critique through music for the masses.

Music

ONO Confronts American Racial Oppression with the Incendiary 'Red Summer'

Decades after their initial formation, legendary experimentalists ONO have made an album that's topical, vital, uncomfortable, and cathartic. Red Summer is an essential documentation of the ugliness and oppression of the United States.

Film

Silent Women Filmmakers No Longer So Silent: Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers

The works of silent filmmakers Alice Guy Blaché and Julia Crawford Ivers were at risk of being forever lost. Kino Lorber offers their works on Blu-Ray. Three cheers for film historians and film restoration.

Music

Rush's 'Permanent Waves' Endures with Faultless Commercial Complexity

Forty years later, Rush's ability to strike a nearly perfect balance between mainstream invitingness and exclusory complexity is even more evident and remarkable. The progressive rock classic, Permanent Waves, is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Music

Drum Machines? Samples? Brendan Benson Gets Contemporary with 'Dear Life'

Powerpop overlord and part-time Raconteur, Brendan Benson, grafts hip-hop beats to guitar pop on his seventh solo album, Dear Life.

Music

'Sell You Everything' Brings to Light Buzzcocks '1991 Demo LP' That Passed Under-the-Radar

Cherry Red Records' new box-set issued in memory of Pete Shelley gathers together the entire post-reunion output of the legendary Buzzcocks. Across the next week, PopMatters explores the set album-by-album. First up is The 1991 Demo LP.

Music

10 Key Tracks From the British Synthpop Boom of 1980

It's 40 years since the first explosion of electronic songs revitalized the UK charts with futuristic subject matter, DIY aesthetics, and occasionally pompous lyrics. To celebrate, here's a chronological list of those Moog-infused tracks of 1980 that had the biggest impact.

Reading Pandemics

Poe, Pandemic, and Underlying Conditions

To read Edgar Allan Poe in the time of pandemic, we need to appreciate a very different aspect of his perspective—not that of a mimetic artist but of the political economist.

Books

'Yours, Jean' Is a Perfect Mixture of Tragedy, Repressed Desire, and Poor Impulse Control

Lee Martin's Yours, Jean is a perfectly balanced and heartbreaking mix of true crime narrative and literary fiction.

Music

The 60 Best Albums of 2007

From tech house to Radiohead and Americana to indie and everything in between, the 60 best albums of 2007 included many of the 2000s' best albums.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Solitude Stands in the Window: Thoreau's 'Walden'

Henry David Thoreau's Walden as a 19th century model for 21st century COVID-19 quarantine.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Will COVID-19 Kill Movie Theaters?

Streaming services and large TV screens have really hurt movie theaters and now the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered multiplexes and arthouses. The author of The Perils of Moviegoing in America, however, is optimistic.

Gary D. Rhodes, Ph.D
Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.