Bluegrass and folk music is blended in the Appalachian sound of Tyler Childers.
Childers broke onto the scene with his 2017 LP, Purgatory, featuring hits such as “Feathered Indians” and “Lady May.” Since then, he has performed across the nation on storied stages at places like Bonnaroo and The Ryman.
Recently, “Feathered Indians” was a trending sound on TikTok, but many don’t know the depth of Childers’ full catalogue. Here are the top 10 Tyler Childers songs:
10. “Country Squire”
The upbeat tune is reminiscent of a bouncy bluegrass song. Childers sings about how he plans to fix up a beat-up Country Squire trailer for his wife to tow their future in by “turnin’ them songs into two-by-fours.” It’s a song that one would want to play when they’re in the mood to sing along with their significant other while driving down a wooded road, maybe even while pulling a Country Squire of their own.
9. “House Fire”
“House Fire” reuses the metaphor of snow as Childers’ emotional walls. The upbeat tune has a strong beat coupled with simple lyrics. The song picks up after the first chorus by adding a sweet fiddle to the already foot-tapping beat. It’s a song that makes you want to dance and sing along.
8. “Follow You to Virgie”
Once again, Childers returns with a track that is built by strong vocals and a lone acoustic guitar. This time, he sings about Virgie, a community in Kentucky in which Childers and his friends spent time while growing up. Childers becomes nostalgic of the location after the grandmother of one of these individuals, Cody, passes away, and he must return for the funeral. It’s a nice tribute to someone who was influential to his life and others.
7. “Play Me a Hank Song”
There is nothing like the crutch of your favorite artist when experiencing a great deal of pain. On “Play Me a Hank Song,” Childers sings of how a song by Hank Williams Sr. can bring him out of a stupor. The listener can feel the aching in his voice when he breaks into the chorus and when he turns the tables to the female perspective in the song. It’s raw and emotional — just like a good Hank song.
6. “Charleston Girl”
This upbeat tune relies on its mandolin to bring out the beat. “Charleston Girl” is about a trip Childers takes across the river to West Virginia. While there, he spends his nights boozing with a local girl who brings out his wild side. It seems like a light-hearted track on the surface, but it does have a deeper meaning.
5. “Feathered Indians”
A true country love song centered around a Red Man belt buckle. Childers sings of how he could do the impossible if his “angel” would simply tell him that she would be there for him through thick and thin. He fears that his recklessness could ruin their potential relationship but is willing to work toward being a better man. If one heard this on Court Street, they would tap their feet along to the beat.
4. “Whitehouse Road”
“Whitehouse Road” details the drug and substance abuse epidemic that is prominent in Appalachia. It is not the first time he tackles this subject, but the theme about the damaging effects of endless partying is hidden behind what seems to be an excitement for those activities. It’s an honest track that takes an indirect approach to addressing a hot-button topic.
3. “Lady May”
Tyler wrote this heartfelt tune for his wife, Senora May. He sings about how he is inadequate to her and that his qualities are not redeemable compared to hers. Childers’ imagery is strong in “Lady May,” as he describes hickory trees and a river. He also uses various allusions to compare how May’s love makes him feel.
2. “We’ve Had Our Fun”
The saying that “all good things must come to an end” comes to life in this track. Childers sings of how a reckless and carefree lifestyle will eventually catch up to you. It’s relatable for anyone who lives a fast-paced life. “We’ve Had Our Fun” is another one of his stripped-down songs, but that does not mean it’s not a hit.
1. “Shake the Frost”
This tune is easily Childers’ most emotional ballad. He sings of letting his emotions loose in front of the one he loves despite it being hard for him to let down his walls. He uses the imagery of frost on his bones and an old Ford Mustang to explain to the listener the magnitude of his trust for this individual. Shake the Frost” pulls on the heartstrings like it’s the mandolin in the background.
Honorable Mention: “Rock Salt and Nails”
“Rock Salt and Nails” is a cover of the song popularized by Waylon Jennings. Childers plays it solely with a soft acoustic guitar on his Live On Red Barn Radio I & II LP. Childers’ version has a haunting spin, unlike the Jennings version, due to the aching in his voice and absence of other instruments. It makes you feel as if you are experiencing a post-breakup performance.