Album Review

Tyler Childers - Country Squire

A mere two years after his acclaimed sophomore album Purgatory, Childers returns with his most cohesive and fully realized work yet.

Tyler Childers - Country Squire Album Cover
January 29, 2023 5:08 pm GMT
Last Edited May 10, 2023 9:13 am GMT

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A mere two years after his acclaimed sophomore album Purgatory, Childers returns with his most cohesive and fully realized work yet.

With Country Squire, his first major label effort, Childers strikes the delicate balance of delivering several radio-friendly jaunts while never compromising his unique brand of bare-knuckled storytelling. Where Purgatory veered into darker experimental arenas, Country Squire is lighter and more firmly accessible, sharing universally understood laments on love, loneliness and struggling to find happiness amidst an ever-changing life.

Working under the attuned fingers of returning producers Sturgill Simpson and David Ferguson, Childers sounds consistently at ease as he brings bring humor and honky-tonk flavor to these mostly autobiographical tales. The title track kicks off with a jumping two-step beat, as Childers laments over his desire to create a home for his future family.

It provides the whimsical and often wishful framing of the rest of the album; Childers remains superbly present but accepting of his internal longing to know what the future might bring for him. The notion of young love on ‘Bus Route’ is a more effective and mature interpretation of Tim McGraw’s ‘Don’t Take the Girl’, while the big city struggles of ‘Creeker’ are felt in every sweeping chorus that Childers aptly delivers, serving as a steady companion to ‘Gemini’ as a self-deprecating ode to all of his faults.

Childers’ understanding of character development is unmatched in the current country music landscape; only the likes of Miranda Lambert display the same aptitude in writing in the genre.

The predestined for country radio “All Your’n” is one such lyrical triumph. Not only does it possess his finest vocal delivery to date, but the way in which Childers crafts the structure of each line demonstrates his genius ability to make the most intricate intonation seem effortlessly simple. It’s his first and likely not his last possible crossover hit.

Childers is at his most dynamic when scratching further at the urges that keep his mind racing at night. Mostly, it’s because his struggles are not unique to him, but representative of all of us at one time or another. Whether singing of building shelter for his future family or managing singular passion on the road, he lights up his thoughts with such raw honesty that it leaves no dark corner unknown to the listener.

This is what makes Country Squire such a success. All evidence suggests that there is so much more to come from the reflections of this once-in-a-generation talent.

9.5 / 10.

Tyler Childers' 2019 album, Country Squire, is out now via Hickman Holler Records. You can purchase the record from one of Holler's selected partners below:

Tyler Childers - Country Squire Album Cover

RCA | 2019

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Written by Soda Canter
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