Tyler Childers closed out a weekend of honky tonkin’ with a performance so heavenly, he might have saved our souls.
Country’s biggest neo-traditionalist turned the final hours of Two Step Inn into a church revival, firing off a catalog that pulsated with his trademark hardscrabble spiritualism. Childers’ set was a righteous slop of good timin’ tunes and gospel-tinged arias, all textured by his earnest Kentucky tenor.
He donned the stage against the last remnants of the setting sun, to the roar of an anticipating crowd. ‘Lady May’ was his opening song, sweetly sung and well received. His hushed tone, lilting lyrics so sincere, washed over the crowd for a refreshing wave to a weekend’s worth of country-battered ears.
His performance was precise, but never unnatural. He was conversational and personal, telling tales of home, seeming to make direct eye contact by the thousands. His voice – in song and story – was full of conviction, especially when he introduced his band. He took his time with introductions as his accompaniment rolled off a country-rock ditty, calling out members’ names to the crowd as if they were words written in Psalms.
Pulling from the very best of his repertoire, sharing love songs, modern hymns, and gritty anthems across his hour-and-a-half set, Childers’ set offered up back-to-back crowd-pleasers.
He performed the soul-stirring ‘Old Country Church’ from his 2022 triple album, Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?, then followed it up with the record’s hellacious title track. He picked up the fiddle for a spell for a bluegrass-tinted interlude, before erupting into the rollicking ‘Country Squire’ from his 2019 album of the same name.
His performance delivered hit after hit from across his five studio albums. However, the songs you thought you couldn’t love any more are even better when Childers performs them live.
With the help of lengthy breakdowns and swelling jams, each song was savored that night up on stage, every tune given that much more of a country kick.
To say Tyler Childers put on a show at the Two Step Inn would be an understatement. He not only exceeded expectations, he perhaps led us to salvation.
Tyler Childers - Setlist
Taken from Tyler's headline set at Two Step Inn 2023 in Georgetown, Texas on Sunday, April 16 2023.
For more from Two Step Inn Festival 2023, see below: