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Make no mistake, Tyler Childers could be selling arenas coast to coast right now. You won’t hear him on mainstream country radio, or see him on the CMAs, but he’s one of the biggest artists in all of country music right now, with his 2017 album Purgatory continues to be one of the best selling and most streamed albums each week.
But instead of cashing in and selling, Tyler selectively plays some of the country’s most legendary festivals and venues. He made an appearance at DelFest a few weeks ago, backed by the Travelin’ McCourys for a bluegrass-inspired set. Then, on Friday, June 17, he appeared at the 49th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival with his own band, including a new member.
It was a fiery set of music from Childers, who played some of his most requested songs that he hasn’t performed live recently, including a solo set where he played his Appalachian ode “Nose to the Grindstone “, and her certified platinum single “Lady May”. He has also sung a few notable covers he has performed live recently, namely SG Goodman’s “I Never Want To Leave This World”, Bob Weir’s “Greatest Story Ever Told”, as well as “Tulsa Turnaround” and “Trudy “.
Tyler Childers live has taken a funkier, more religious twist lately. It featured many Gospel or Gospel-esque songs throughout, including “Old Country Church” and its crowd pleasing and currently unrecorded “Hounds To Heaven”. See (mostly) the full track list below.
Perhaps most notable, Tyler Childers has also introduced a new member to his support group, the Food Stamps. CJ Cain is best known as the leader and constant of bluegrass band The Wooks, who incidentally released an excellent record earlier this year titled fly high. The Wooks have performed and collaborated with Tyler regularly over the years, and CJ has traveled from Lexington, Kentucky to play acoustic guitar. The Wooks also announced a hiatus in May.
As those who have seen Tyler Childers lately can attest, he increasingly prefers to lay down his own acoustics and sing with his hands. Having CJ Cain on stage helps make that easier for Tyler. But Cain didn’t just play rhythm. A few times he’s come out to deliver a solo, which he’s pretty good at doing. Its presence definitely helps fill out the sound.
Tyler Childers scored another bucket list goal on Friday with his appearance at Telluride, and although it was officially a bluegrass festival, Telluride allowed Tyler to do his own thing, and the crowd l clearly enjoyed it, with quite a few people traveling mainly to the festival to see Childers, and everyone yelling their approval at the end.
(Mostly) Full Track Listing:
1. Field Squire
2. Bus route
3. Deadman’s Curve
5. All your’n
7. I never want to leave this world
8. The Greatest Story Ever Told
9. Percheron mules
10. Born Again
11. Tulsa Turnaround
12. Universal Sound
13. Lady May (acoustic solo)
14. Nose to the Grindstone (acoustic solo)
16. House fire
17. Old Country Church
18. Dogs in Heaven
20. A new song maybe?