Tyler Childers (photo: William Wayland)
Words by William Wayland
Tyler Childers released his breakthrough album, Purgatory, in August 2017. Even before I had listened all the way through I had tickets to see him a week later at Hotel Utah. Playing before a capacity crowd of 90 people, I predicted that someday the 60,000 people across town at Outside Lands would wish they had been at Hotel Utah that night with me.
So it was interesting to see Mr. Childers play the Fillmore a year later, before a sold out audience more than 10 times the size. The 2017 crowd was quiet, listening to every one of Tyler’s lyrics. If you’re giving him a first listen, don’t expect songs about crying in his beer because he just lost his girl and now he’s driving down a lonely dirt road in his pickup truck in the rain.
The Fillmore fans were singing along and a whooping and hollering (that’s a real thing) in between. There was even a marriage proposal.
His quick rise to fame isn’t surprising, of course. With a charting album and having won Emerging Artist of the Year from the Americana Music Association, Tyler Childers’ kind of talent is far too rare in country music today.
Opening was rock-and-roll-with-a-Nashville-bent (I just made that up) band Blank Range. I saw this band when they toured with Margo Price and was looking forward to hearing them play again. Unfortunately, the Fillmore crowd was mostly there to see Tyler Childers and I think a lot of people missed out. The biggest surprise for me is that bass player, Taylor Zachary, can sing. He took the lead on “Change Your Look,” a single off the band’s next album due out next year.