To be honest, we should have probably made Tyler Booth a New Artist Of The Week back in 2019.
That was when his silky smooth, barrel-aged baritone first popped out of our speakers singing ‘Long Comes A Girl’; one of those perfectly written country songs that feels like you’ve been hearing it your whole life on first listen. It was the first of a near-perfect string of country singles over the next couple of years, culminating in his impeccable Grab The Reins EP last year.
He could have been a New Artist Of The Week any one of those weeks since then, but here we are, heading into 2023, making up for what we should’ve done a long time ago.
If 2022 ended up being a relatively quiet year release-wise for Booth, that’s only because next year he’s going to be making a hell of a lot of noise. The only track he released this year was his gritty outlaw country cover of Post Malone’s ‘Feeling Whitney’. It kept us going, sure, but it wasn’t enough. When you’ve really got a liking for something, a little taste of it like that only makes you hungrier.
Born and raised in Wolfe County, Kentucky, Tyler Booth grew up in a musical family, often sitting in on the rehearsals of his dad’s rock band. After enrolling in Morehead State University’s Traditional Music Studies program, he quickly caught the attention of one of his professors, Scott Miller, who happened to be an old friend of songwriter Phil O’Donnell.
O’Donnell invited Booth to Nashville, where the two of them cut his first self-titled EP, released independently in 2017. Firmly planting his flag in the modern outlaw country sand, it was immediately obvious from songs like ‘Ready To Raise It’ and ‘Hank Crankin’ People’ that Booth was an artist willing to take risks and forge his own path defiant in the face of whatever else was happening in the country music mainstream at the time.
A couple of years later he was featured on legendary duo Brooks and Dunn’s country swing-style ballad, ‘Lost and Found’ on their Reboot album, before releasing his next EP in 2021. Songs like ‘Ghost Town’ and ‘Palomino Princess’ smoothed off the rough edges of his earlier singles and set his creamy baritone atop a warm stylish neo-traditionalist country sound that leant as much on contemporaries like Midland and Jon Pardi as it did on the 70s outlaws that inspired him growing up.
After recently sharing stages with artists such as Darius Rucker, Jon Pardi and Brooks and Dunn, Booth is currently on his first-ever headline tour, the ‘Country Gang’ tour, through the end of the year into 2023. For anybody looking for a new country superstar to fall in love with, Tyler Booth has the voice and the songs to make you fall head over heels for him. New country crush activated.
We caught up with him before he gets too busy to talk to us, to find out a little bit more about the man behind that incredible voice and what he has coming up next.
Where are you from and how did that influence you?
I’m from Campton, KY – a town of 404 people last I heard. We play either music or basketball in Eastern, KY and I sucked at basketball.
What did you grow up listening to?
I mostly grew up listening to old country like Waylon, Cash, Willie, Jamey Johnson and Dolly. My dad was a rocker too, so I had a lot of different influences like Metallica, Ozzy, BLS. I’m a music nut. I love all genres of music, I just love great music.
How would you describe your sound?
I don’t wanna be like anyone else. Someone has already done that. I listen to very few modern artists. If I was going to describe the music I’ve released so far I’d say it leans more traditional with some rock in there. But, really I’ve got hundreds of songs I’ve written that nobody has heard yet. Just wait and see, I’ve grown as a songwriter and artist. I love the direction life has taken in my writing and recording. The next couple of years are going to be an adventure.
What was it like working with Brooks and Dunn?
It was amazing, and for them to want me to sing on their record was unbelievable…I still can’t believe it. I was the only unsigned artist at the time to sing on that Reboot album. I think that says a lot about them to have an unknown person on their record, when they could’ve gotten any big star in town to do it. Kix and Ronnie are good people. It’s really cool when you meet someone you’ve looked up to and they are genuine people. Y’all go listen to ‘Lost and Found’ on the Reboot album!
Where’s the most unexpected place music has taken you?
Alaska. The Alaska rodeo flew me and the boys up there this past summer for their annual rodeo. It was so beautiful up there and there were a lot of country fans. I would have never thought in a million years us hillbillies from KY would be in Alaska playing our songs. GOD is good.
If you had to make a mixtape for Holler readers of all your favourite songs, what would be on it?
Dang. A lot of songs of different genres. Kid Rock, Waylon, Ray Charles, Hank Jr, Hank Sr, Dolly, Charley Pride, Post Malone, Jelly Roll, Jamey Johnson, The Stones, Black Sabbath, Willie Nelson and Adele, to name a few.
We love your version of ‘Feeling Whitney’, what made you want to record that?
I love Post Malone’s music, he’s just on another level. ‘Feeling Whitney’ has always been a favorite of mine. If I like a song, usually I’ll find myself transposing it to suit me. I started doing it at shows and people loved it, so I thought I’m just going to record my version of it so they can listen to it anytime they want to.
If you could time travel back to any time when would you travel back to?
I think the late '70s was the best for country music. It’d be fun to travel back in time and do a show with Don Williams, Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride. To go on tour with Waylon and Willie would be crazy.
Which person from history would you most like to meet?
I’d love to of met Waylon, he was my grandfather’s favorite singer. I know he’d be super proud if I had gotten to meet him. I grew up listening to Waylon’s stories, so I’d have a lot of questions for him.
How many cowboy hats do you have?
I’d have a lot more, but sometimes I get excited and throw them out to the crowd during my shows. It gets a bit expensive replacing them, so if ya know any hat sponsors, tell 'em I could use some hats. Seriously, I probably have 20 or so right now. I’m really rough on them, so they don’t last very long.
What would be your Spice Girls style nickname?
What do we have to do to join your ‘country gang’?
Come to a show and sing my songs with me and you’re in the gang.
What advice would you give to the younger you?
Get ready to grind, it’s a tough road out here. My best advice would be – don’t worry about the ones that don’t believe in you, worry about the ones that do believe in you.
What’s next for you?
I plan on releasing more music than ever in 2023. I’m working on 4 projects in total. A lot of the new stuff will be solo writes by me, so I’m excited about that and more confident than ever in my writing. I can’t wait to share new music with y’all!
'Feeling Whitney' is out now through Sony Music Entertainment. Tyler Booth is one of Holler's 23 Artists For 2023. To find out who else made the list, click here.