Tyler Childers at Railbird 2023 by Laura Ord

Tyler Childers Shares Powerful Speech on Sobriety During Knoxville Show: “That's the Biggest Thing You Get Back - Time”

April 18, 2024 11:53 am GMT

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During Tyler Childers’ performance at Knoxville's Thompson-Boling Arena on April 16th, the ‘Lady May’ hitmaker shared an emotional speech about his journey to sobriety.

The ‘In Your Love’ singer-songwriter touched on how Knoxville holds a special place in his heart, because it was the last place he got drunk before calling it quits for good.

Prior to 2020, when he announced he had given up hard drugs and alcohol in the lead-up to Long Violent History, Childers’ music was peppered with references to these substances, such as on ‘Whitehouse Road’ (“Get me higher than the grocery bill”).

However, since getting sober, he's explored noticeably different themes and regularly celebrates the shifted perspective he has as a result of this lifestyle change. On the Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven? stand-out, ‘Way of the Triune God’, for instance, he muses, “I don't need the pills you take / Just to feel the spirit movin’”.

While in the midst of the acoustic section of his Knoxville show, Tyler Childers recalled what led to his decision to stop drinking, “We were gonna be gone from the house for about 36 days, and I had one day to be home. We woke up from here and went to the house, and I remember sitting around the house, being like, ‘Man, this is the one place that you want to be more than anywhere else in the whole entire world, and you ain't gonna see this place for 36 days, and you can't do anything but sit here and nurse this hangover’. And I was like, ‘I am done with that’”.

Childers explained why he doesn't often speak about this aspect of his personal life, “I don't really talk about my sobriety because I don't like to. I like to write songs. I'm not like some motivational speaker or anything like that. I will tell you that I just found things to do other than [drinking and taking drugs]”, before choking up as he concluded, “Because that's the biggest thing you get back - time”.

After evocatively delving into these weighty topics, Tyler Childers brought some levity to the Thompson-Boling Arena stage by joking about how he used this newfound abundance of time after becoming sober, teasing, “There was a short amount of time where I just became absolutely obsessed with cleaning my shoes”.

He touched on how he also utilised this time to learn how to play the fiddle - or, as he modestly put it, “play at fiddle”. Childers then shared that he does still smoke marijuana on his days off. He underlined that he never wants to be heralded an example or role model, because each person's situation and needs will be unique to them, “That's the biggest thing with any type of addiction of any sort, is you have to have an honest assessment of yourself and that might not work for you”.

Tyler Childers is set to perform the first of two shows at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena this evening (April 18th), featuring support from rising alt-country band, 49 Winchester.

For more on Tyler Childers, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
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