Tyler Childers at Railbird 2023 by Laura Ord
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Tyler Childers Brings a Jubilant Kentuckian Jamboree to London

February 22, 2024 6:50 pm GMT
Last Edited February 23, 2024 11:00 pm GMT

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Tyler Childers won't make you wait if he can help it, opening five minutes to nine on a warmer February night in London.

With no time to waste, he cast his spell upon the crowd within the first few seconds of an electric rendition of 'Way of The Triune God'. Yelping and howling, the crowd was his moon as he cast his wide eyes up and down the audience, and the band was his pack, watching and working around his every move.

Next, moving swiftly into a sample of his 2023 album, Rustin in the Rain, Childers bounced along to the bass and strummed through the jubilant 'Percheron Mules'.

Addressing the audience, he touched on the project, but didn't linger here for long. Reaching back in time, he treated the already buzzing crowd to the fan-favourite 'Country Squire'.

With little to no presence of the usual garish props he flaunts at his US shows, Childers relied on the backdrop and lyrics alone to set the scene of a farm way out west.

He placed his listeners in the middle of a storm: the clang of the drums - the thunder, the lick of the fiddle - the screech of animals taking cover, each sensation combining to transport the crowd with an animated performance of 'Rustin In The Rain'.

As the first pedal steel notes of 'All Your'n' chimed, London was warmed up and leapt at the chance to get involved. The floor and walls vibrated as every crowd member belted the words 'I'm all your'n, and you're all mine' in sync. Childers appeared in constant gratitude, smiling proud of his dedicated punters this side of The Pond.

Childers blended songs from his different eras, chopping dizzyingly between gospel country, acoustic and rock 'n soul. He gifted these lucky attendees at night one of his London run to tracks like 'Purgatory', 'In Your Love', 'Whitehouse Road', and 'Angel Band (Hallelujah Version)'. After 'Country Church', Childers stopped to tell the story behind his Hank Williams cover: his Papaw's army friend taught him how to play guitar at age five, and it was the first tune he ever learned.

He mused, "If you had told me back then that this song would get me all the way across the pond and get to play for you people, I'd have told you you were crazy”, before heartwarmingly encouraging the packed-out crowd to make friends, "I hope you guys will be like pen pals… we're here to listen to music and fellowship".

And discouraged them from 'the other thing': "Drinking way past what you were capable of and being an asshole. Then everyone's like, ‘I don't want to be that guy's pen pal’”.

Tyler Childers introduced his six-piece band, the Food Stamps, with the respect and reverence of one's chosen family. Reflecting on his first gig, Childers told the crowd he was the opener for his now drummer, Rodney Elkins, and bass player, Craig Burletic, before bringing out the guitar again, launching into 'Going Home'.

The band left the stage, leaving Childers sat on a stool, holding his guitar in his hands, its base resting on his lap. He took the audience down melancholy lane, with mellowed-out versions of 'Follow You To Virgie' and the lovely 'Lady May'.

In doing so, he proved there is only one Tyler Childers - and his talent alone is enough to leave you in awe, despite none of the bells and whistles his home state may bring.

Inviting the band back to the stage, he closed with the triumphant ballad 'Universal Sound', with an enchanting light show and reverberation of the band's instruments in chorus, reaching each listener in the crowd, sending them home with a new feeling and memory of a unique experience only Tyler Childers can give so naturally.

For more on Tyler Childers, see below:

Featured photo by Laura Ord

Written by Gemma Donahoe
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