About halfway into “House Fire”, right when the whole band jumps in with a wailing organ, I’m pretty sure a pair of earplugs shot out of the head of the guy next to me and I knew it was going to be that kind of night.
Webster Hall was packed on Monday night for Tyler Childers’ Country Squire album release show. Working without a setlist Tyler – and his band The Food Stamps – pulled a Kurt Cobain and went into “Whitehouse Road” on the second song. Already at this point my shoes were stuck to all the Miller Lite on the floor while the rest of the crowd were forced to dance as a sort of single-cell organism lurching around the venue’s notoriously shakey floor because it was so full.
But for all of the ruckus of the first few tunes, when the suspended chords of “Feathered Indian” hit, the mood changed completely. Everybody sang every word and it’s clear that the song is already a Great American Folk Song. One of those ones that’ll be a standard for years to come. One of those ones that the Library of Congress is going to preserve. After the applause for that song I was pretty sure Webster Hall was going to need another $10 million dollar upgrade.
I’ve been a big fan for awhile now, and it’s obvious that Tyler deserves all the attention. But I started to ask myself, what is it about the guy specifically that people can’t get enough of?
Maybe it’s that when he plays “Nose to The Grindstone” and he yelps about the way the opiate crisis has ravaged Appalachia, you come to realize that actually it’s destroyed the entire continent and the song means as much to a Manhattan crowd in the middle of August as it does to those down in Kentucky.
Or maybe it’s when you hear “Lady May” and despite its direct references it’s not really about his wife, but every couple in the crowd. Or maybe I’m over thinking it and it’s just that the band plays the type of Country music that makes you want a bucket of Dr Pepper, a Ford Bronco, and a road as flat as it gets.
Whatever it is, Tyler is not only as good as it gets, but is also one of the all-time greats. So if you can, grab tickets to the one of his upcoming shows because they are only going to get bigger and bigger. https://tylerchildersmusic.com/home