Tyler Childers, Oh Where Have You Been


I didn’t want to go out last night, there, I said it. I wanted to stay home to get work done and prepare for a family trip I will be on next week. I know, for shame Andrew how could you!. I felt that way because like many readers and like some at the show I hadn’t the slightest clue about Tyler Childers‘s music. I had done some quick listening the day of the show but wasn’t able to sink my teeth into anything. A day after seeing George and Tyler play I accept any judgement you lay upon me. Not only was I surprised by both musicians but holy hell did they blow me away and I even went immediately to the ticket booth to claim Tyler’s show poster as my own. Wherever these guys have been hiding out, I wish I had known them long before.

If my hesitation to settle in for the show at The Entry wasn’t already in full swing it was when I heard the name of opener, George Shingleton. George Shingleton?, I thought. Who the heck is that? Sounds like the name of a steak house of hotel chain. I am sure THIS George Shingleton appreciates a good steak but it turns out he was neither of my guesses and ultimately just one hell of a musician and singer. Don’t try hunting down his music on Spotify or a streamer, you won’t find anything. In fact his own YouTube channel has a hand full of songs and nothing more. What you will find though is a few covers including Wagon Wheel and Waylon Jennings’ tune “I’ve Always Been Crazy”. And in person Shingleton’s voice is no less impressive. I’ve become aware enough of myself when photographing shows now that when I stop shooting for a moment I know I am seeing something special. Call it ridiculous or sappy, I don’t care. But sometimes when witnessing a moment during a concert you need to stop and soak it up without the interference.

You can check out some of his music on YouTube . I insist, don’t skip over it and come back later. 

Without much warning after George’s set and before I had time to gather myself from just crawling through the sold out Entry, Tyler made his way onto the stage without missing a beat. And it was entirely fitting, because Childers is no gimmicky musician or there to schmooze you. The man on stage would be every bit the same man you’d expect to sit down and share a beer with discussing the drive he’d made from his last show. And I love it. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to swipe a copy of the setlist for the night nor a photo of one hanging anywhere so I apologize. But, testament to Childers I must say it was irrelevant. Whether everyone present knew Childers’ music or even his name seemed irrelevant. A sold out show on a Tuesday night and complete captivation throughout said enough. 

In my reflection on John Moreland not too long ago I drew the imagery of a man fumbling through choices in his life he wanted nothing more than to sidestep but knew it impossible. For Childers’ music I found that I now imagined that man many years later having found a sort of internal peace. Sitting on the dock of his family’s home staring out on the water as he ponders struggles in his past, but no longer at war with himself. That’s when I turned on Childers’ song, Universal Sound. It’s a simple tune that Childers’ wrote after some extensive meditation on personal struggle and the result I am thankful for. If you listen to any of Childers songs after reading this Universal Sound and Feathered Indians are brilliantly simple in their words but paint fantastic mental imagery.

I am going to keep this review short in acknowledgement of my own need to better acquaint with Childers’ and Shingleton’s music, but even more so because out of due respect to these guys I can’t do them justice. Comments throughout YouTube label these guys as the next editions of artist like Ryan Adams and Jason Isbell. I must agree if people keep finding them there is no doubt they’ll become well known names and deservedly so. I enjoyed everything about these guys and will heed my own words and not let my doubts get in the way of being excited for a show I know nothing about the musicians.

Get To Know Childers Recommendations – Feathered Indians, Universal Sound, Nose on the Grindstone