Tyler Childers “Rustin’ in the Rain” is unfiltered and complex

Courtesy of Hickman Holler

Tyler Childers, a Kentucky born singer-songwriter, has garnered the attention of millions with his Americana style folk music. Childers’ lyrics have quickly grown to establish country style music in the mainstream music scene since his breakout studio album “Purgatory” in 2017.

Childers’ top songs include “All your’n”, “Feathered Indians” and “Lady May”, all with more than 235 million streams on Spotify. 

His newest album “Rustin’ In The Rain”, released on Sept. 8, has already created controversy and caught the attention of many.

The album consists of six new and original songs, along with one long-awaited cover, providing listeners with nearly thirty minutes of traditional bluegrass style music and gospel roots.

Childers released “In Your Love” as a single on July 27. The song has loving lyrics and displays unconditional devotion to a loved one.

The song opens with “I will wait for you / ‘Til the sun turns into ashes / And bows down to the moon / I will wait for you”.

Tyler Childers has a true talent in writing love songs, capturing the feelings of undying faith and complex emotions for another.

“In Your Love” faced criticism and controversy after Childers released a music video for the song that depicted two male coal miners in a loving and romantic relationship. Though Childers has consistently expressed his own beliefs regarding gay rights and acceptance, he is still receiving backlash for the video. 

“These are human stories, not political stories,” said Childers in an NPR interview regarding the controversy that followed the release of the song.

The rest of Childers’ album has not yet garnered any criticism from listeners.

The second song on the album, “Phone Calls and Emails” takes a more sorrowful tone as it shares the feelings of an unrequited love and lost relationship.

The chorus goes, “I’d check in on you, I considered us friends / Now I’m second-guessin’ / What I thought to be true”.

Childers accurately describes the emotions that arise when a loved one loses feelings. Paired with slow guitar strums and light piano melodies, listeners can reflect on their own experiences and feel the heartbreak within the lyrics.

Childers shares his religious roots in the third song in his newest album. “Luke 2:8-10” starts with the biblical verse where an angel from God comes to Earth and says “Fear not, for behold I bring tidings of great joy which shall be unto all”.

The song’s lyrics illustrate the shepherd’s perspective, revealing feelings of great fear and confusion, met with joyful rhythms and anticipatory percussion. The song is an abrupt change from the previous song on the album with its joyous and wild rhythms, though it highlights Childers’ gospel roots. 

Gospel has recently made its way into Childers’ music, his last album “Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?” has heavy religious themes and contains traditional gospel style, though listeners do not need religious experience to feel the true joy and love that Childers displays.

The album returns to its soft and gentle ballads with its fourth song “Help Me Make It Through The Night”.

The song is another love song on the album that discusses relying on a loved one to create a sense of safety and peace in order to prepare for the days ahead.

The song is reliant on mostly instrumental bridges, with a weeping guitar and delicate piano between the chorus that goes “Yesterday is dead and gone / And tomorrow’s out of sight / It’s so sad to be alone / Oh, help me make it through the night”.

Childers’ love songs consistently prove to be wholesome and true, all while keeping the ugly bits that come with devoting love to another.

The last song on Childers new album has been long awaited for. Childers finally provided listeners with a full cover of S.G. Goodman’s “Space and Time”.

Childers originally covered the song in 2022 for “Healing Appalachia”, a music festival in West Virginia. Until the release of the album, Childers’ cover could only be streamed through YouTube. His original performance was widely loved and admired, and fans begged for a formal recording of the cover.

Childers’ bluesy voice adds a completely raw emotion to the song. He nearly yells the lyrics “I never wanna leave this world / Without sayin’, “I love you” / Without sayin’ what you mean to me”.

The song is performed beautifully by Childers, adding a drawn out bass and intensified percussion that musically emphasizes the heavy and intense emotions depicted in the song – true companionship and devotion to a partner for life.

Tyler Childers has proved again and again that folk country has a spot in the music industry in  2023. His talent for incorporating gospel in modern music and creating controversy with love songs is unmatched compared to any other modern folk writers.

Whether or not listeners agree with Childers’ messages, his undying popularity is going nowhere.

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