Kind of like the characters in his songs, Tyler Halverson has been kicking about for a while now without any real sense of urgency, letting life come at him however it comes.
Sometimes life comes at you fast though, and there’s no getting out of its way. It’ll drag you along by your heels and take your wherever it wants you to go, whether you like it or not. All you can do is hold on tight and take a smoke break whenever you can.
On early singles like ’94 Camaro’, ‘Beer Garden Baby’ and ‘Mac Miller’, Tyler Halverson mixed the wry wit of Kacey Musgraves with the rough no frills approach of Zach Bryan on a bunch of songs that sounded like they were cut without any expectations.
They're effortless little slacker country anthems that perfectly capture that moment in your early twenties when you’re just out of college, you’ve got forever ahead of you and you’re not in any rush to be tied down. It’s that one big precious gap that you get before you have to take life seriously.
Of course, after signing to Atlantic Records last year, Tyler Halverson is quickly discovering the songs that he wrote just to fill the time have become the thing his time is filled with.
“When I started all of this, my whole goal was to sing songs so I could buy cows and have enough cows to tell the world to get lost,” he laughs. It’s what makes his songs so warm and appealing. He never seems to be in much of a hurry. His laid-back confessional country comes from a place that feels refreshingly honest and without pretension.
“You don’t really get to pick what goes on,” he says of his honest storytelling. “You just get to write about it. You’re going to get a song either way.”
Born and raised in Canton, South Dakota, Tyler fell in love with music through his dad’s CD collection. He listened to Garth Brooks, George Strait, Chris LeDoux and Hayes Carll - as well as Boyz II Men. In middle school, Tyler got into skateboarding and bands like The Used and Taking Back Sunday, but all that changed after attending a bluegrass festival, and he moved to Nashville at 21 years old to attend the prestigious Belmont University.
After he graduated, he travelled around South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming, where he settled for a while.
“I thought it was a good idea to leave Nashville and go live with this girl on her family’s big-ass ranch in the absolute middle of nowhere,” he recalls. You can still hear that same free and easy adventurous spirit and no-fucks-given attitude that took him West in his songs.
“I was just ranching and writing. Playing cowboy and hippie. That bad love did me good.”
Right before the pandemic hit, Gary Stanton of Muscadine Bloodline caught a clip of Tyler singing on Instagram, and soon after they got together to cut a bunch of songs together. Those songs became that curious string of early singles and he’s continuing to add to them since signing to Atlantic with songs like ‘Her’, ‘Cut You Loose’ and his latest single, ‘As You Did.’
Holler sat down with Tyler Halverson to talk about his influences, horses and the emo phase he still hasn't grown out of.
Where are you from and how did that influence you?
Canton, South Dakota. It was a small town that taught me to dream big.
What did you grow up listening to?
80’s and 90’s country. Until i got a skateboard and started my emo phase that I haven’t grown out of yet. I was country kid who loved Garth Brooks, George Straight, George Jones, Alan Jackson, etc. But also rocked out at Warped Tours.
How has growing up a real-life cowboy influenced your music?
I wouldn’t call myself that. I don’t saddle a horse everyday or make my living with livestock. But I’ve met many and hope to join the club someday. Being lucky enough to grow up around a few though, it taught me a whole lot about life. How it’s never fair and hard work can’t be beat. Keep your head up and your chin down.
How would you describe your sound?
Country & Western Amerijuana. For the hippies and the cowboys. Just don’t call it Americana.
Who are your biggest influences?
My friends and the people I surround myself with. I’ve been blessed with a great group of artists and writers in my circle. I’m just trying to keep up!
What can you tell us about your latest single 'As They Did'?
It’s about coming across the plains of South Dakota, or wherever this may be for you, and thinking on what it would have been like to see that country untouched. No fence lines, no roads, no nothing and what that must have been liked.
Where’s the most unexpected place music has taken you?
We played this rodeo in Bosler, WY a few weeks ago. It was an open field ranch bronc riding. And I have to say that was the gnarliest and coolest damn place I’ve been blessed to play my guitar at.
You’re going out on the road with Parker McCollum, what can fans expect from a Tyler Halverson live show?
Lots of harmonica and rowdy beer garden babies and daddies helping me sing.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
This. This is it. God only gives so many gifts. And singing a country song is mine.
If you could time travel back to any time, when would you travel back to?
I’d say Western South Dakota early 1800’s
Which person from history would you most like to meet?
Do you have any hidden talents?
I know how to dispose of Coors Lights pretty quick.
What have you learnt from horses?
How to give my full attention to something.
What would your Spice Girls style nickname be?
What’s next for you?
To just keep on keeping on! Writing, recording and running all over the country.
Tyler Halverson's latest single, As You Did, is out now via Atlantic Records.