A recent discovery of mine comes to town, and it becomes readily evident that I am late to the party.
Opener: Blank Range
This was a pleasant surprise, and a rock band with country and psych twinges that I will have to give a listen to soon. They put on a solid opening set, playing for 40 minutes in which I was never bored at all. Turns out, they have a record coming out in February – there you go. They rocked more than Mr. Childers and his band did, and while the songs weren’t as strong, it was quite a good time. Towards the end of their set, the bass player for Childers’ band came out and played the ol’ four string so the bass player could sing a song. Band interplay might be my second favorite concert event (Neil cover, obvi). Togetherness, people. It’s a rarity these days, so embrace it.
Headliner: Tyler Childers
So… I thought I was cool and hip when I heard his live record earlier this year, thoroughly enjoyed it, and then combed through his short catalogue. Turns out, the secret has been out: I have literally never seen so many cars (and people, that’s how cars work – for now) at the Revolution in all the times I have been there. Turns out, this bad boy was sold out AF – now, I know I live in one of the more “country” metro areas in the nation, but wow I had no idea what a following this cat has. And, frankly, for good reason.
Tyler Childers surrounds himself with a solid band, but, to be honest, they are not strikingly talented or unique. They are merely a serviceable vehicle for the star of the show: Tyler’s songs. This dude writes some genuinely beautiful and rough tunes, and he didn’t disappoint. He sounded great, and sang the songs with top-notch energy and devotion.
The band had some interesting nuance, including two drummers, allowing for some pretty interesting percussion on the up-tempo tracks. We also got to watch as his pedal steel player switched occasionally to electric six-string as his main guitar player audibled to violin for the more mellow jams (of which there were several).
If you are not familiar with Tyler, he is an artist worth discovering. Firmly soaked in the country blues of his Kentucky upbringing, his songs are heartfelt and relatable even to an Idaho “city boy” like myself. The funny thing is that although he sounds crystal clear when singing, I could barely catch one word of all of his banter between, of which there was a fair amount. I honestly understood less than 10% of what he said to the packed house, which is not enough to piece together the meaning of sentences. So, I left without knowing anything he felt important enough to say to us. I don’t blame the venue for this, even if it is an old grocery store with the acoustics of, well, a grocery store. Dude is a mumbler, and even worse, a mumbler with an Appalachian accent.
Oh, man, I feel like I am writing a negative review… no! This was a great show, and his songs are worth your time. Do yourself a favor and listen to the setlist playlist I compiled (you can find it at the end of this diatribe, if you are new to the site). In the world of singer/songwriter country/rock music, he is one of the greats, and I am so pleased that I found out about him in time to catch this show (although not before like 2,500 other people).
When he opened up the show with “Whitehouse Road” the crowd went nuts – this is a fun one and starts with this killer lyric: “Early in the morning, when the sun does rise, layin’ in the bed with bloodshot eyes; later in the evening when the sun sinks low, that’s about the time my rooster crows”. The chorus is a fun one as well, and I defy you to find a better country song about womanizing, boozing, and drug abuse that has been written this decade.
To show the range the man has, when he sang “Shake the Frost” in all its earnest pleading for a woman to stick around and give him a shot to show his love is true, the crowd (myself included) was in the palm of his hand. I even had to shoot a quick video to share with a certain amazing human I care about who couldn’t make it to the show with me. Point is, the man has a gift, and we got to enjoy it for an hour and a half, and I am proud of my town for recognizing this guy and showing up – literally.
Fun side note: about halfway through the set, some rando ran up on the stage in between songs and handed Tyler a shot – which, after a couple seconds of terror he thanked him for and went ahead and drank. Obviously that is a security FUBAR and means somebody manning a portion of the stage shit the bed. Luckily (?) that individual was about ten feet in front of me, and I witnessed him being laid into by some supervisor dude and then removed from his post – poor guy. Um, good thing we have those metal detectors, amiright???
Tyler finished the set with his ode to his wife, “Lady May”, with only his violinist accompanying him onstage. Quite a solid finish (no encore, thank you) to a great show and likely my last country performance of the year.
Childers setlist Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/user/1217400912/playlist/2aESZP91SdBkoauO2wa6N4?si=-WN34ib4TduZvAowkGm1zQ