A photograph of the stage and crowd at Tyler Childers' New Years Eve Shows at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.

Tyler Childers Turned Rupp Arena Into His Own “Old Country Church” For His Kentucky New Years Homecoming

January 3, 2024 11:09 am GMT

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Capping off a year that included a new album, sold out shows around the globe and a handful of Grammy nominations, Tyler Childers made a triumphant return home during the first of two shows to close the year at Lexington, Kentucky’s Rupp Arena.

The show marked a full circle moment for the Eastern Kentucky-born artist, who grew up in Lawrence County but regularly made visits to Lexington as a kid to undergo surgery and other medical treatments at the local Shriners Hospital.

“I was a huge disappointment to my dad when he realized I had no shot in hell at playing basketball here,” Childers joked from inside the home of the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team. “I grew up with two club feet, so basketball was never on the table, but I still made it to Rupp”.

After kicking the show off with solo renditions of 'Nose On The Grindstone', 'Lady May' and 'Follow You To Virgie', the red-headed singer welcomed his longtime band The Food Stamps to the stage for the rest of the night.

In tandem, they tore into the twangy jams of 'Two Coats', 'House Fire' and their trusty cover of Charlie Daniels Band’s 'Trudy' (one that began with a lighthearted tease of Miley Cyrus’ 'Wrecking Ball'), filling up the spacious arena just as well as the dive bars in town Childers was once such a fixture in.

<p>A photograph of the stage and crowd at Tyler Childers' New Years Eve Shows at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky.</p>

Fan favorites like 'Country Squire', 'All Your’n' and 'Whitehouse Road' followed, along with 'Universal Sound', a song Childers performed at the inauguration ceremony for Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on December 12. However, the show’s biggest highlights were reserved for his newer music.

Songs from 2022’s Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven? and this fall’s Rustin’ In The Rain were the backbone of the show, courtesy of the blue collar 'Percheron Mules', a Hounds-inspired reworking of 'Purgatory' and the passionate show closer 'Heart You’ve Been Tendin’'.

The centerpiece came during the profound 'In Your Love', as those in attendance spontaneously turned their phone’s flashlights on and waved them side to side, lighting up the arena for a moment that even took Childers by surprise.

Speaking of surprises, one that took many in the sold out crowd by surprise was a performance of 'Shake The Frost', a song from his beloved album Live On Red Barn Radio I & II that is rarely a part of his live shows.

It was all but a small part of the joyful and euphoric experience curated by Childers, who near the program’s end urged the crowd to connect and make friends with those around them.

Just as a priest does at a mass, Childers ultimately turned Rupp Arena into his own “Old Country Church".

Tyler Childers - Setlist

Taken from his performance at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY on Dec. 30, 2023

Nose On The Grindstone

Lady May

Follow You To Virgie

Country Squire

Bus Route

Deadman's Curve

Percheron Mules

Way Of The Triune God

Tulsa Turnaround (Kenny Rogers cover)

Born Again

All Your’n


Whitehouse Road

Two Coats

Old Country Church

Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven?

In Your Love

Honky Tonk Flame

House Fire

Universal Sound

Shake The Frost

Trudy (Charlie Daniels Band cover)

Heart You’ve Been Tendin’

For more on Tyler Childers, see below:

Written by Matt Wickstrom
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