Tyler Childers is a country singer-songwriter from Kentucky who has been making waves in the music industry with his authentic and original songs. He has released five studio albums and several EPs and has won awards and acclaim for his music. However, he has also faced some backlash and controversy for his latest song, “In Your Love”, which features a gay love story between two coal miners.
In this article, we will explore what happened to Tyler Childers, his music career, and the controversies and issues surrounding him.
Mixed Reactions to Tyler Childers’ Latest Song
Tyler Childers released a new song and music video called “In Your Love” on July 27, 2023, about two coal miners who fall in love but are criticized and attacked because they are guys. On September 8, 2023, his album “Rustin’ in the Rain” will release the song.
Fans and reviewers had varied responses to the song and video. Childers was lauded for his bravery in tackling a hard issue and depicting a homosexual love story in a conservative medium. Others called him too liberal and progressive and accused him of forsaking his origins and fans.
Criticism from the Anti-woke Brigade
Some of the most vocal critics of Childers’ new song were those who identify as anti-woke or anti-social justice warriors. They claimed that Childers was pandering to the woke culture and the LGBTQ+ agenda and that he was alienating his core audience of white rural listeners. They also argued that Childers was disrespecting the coal mining community and the history of Appalachia by depicting them as homophobic and violent.
Some examples of these criticisms are:
- “Tyler Childers sold out to the woke mob. He used to make real country music, now he makes propaganda for the rainbow flag. He lost a fan today.”
- “This is not country music. This is an insult to the hardworking coal miners who built this country. Tyler Childers should be ashamed of himself for spreading lies and promoting sin.”
- “I can’t believe Tyler Childers would do this to us. He was one of us, a proud son of Appalachia. Now he’s turned his back on us and joined the enemy. He’s a traitor and a coward.”
Divided Fan Responses
Not all fans of Childers were negative about his new song. Some expressed their support and admiration for his artistic vision and his message of love and acceptance. They also defended him from the attacks of the anti-woke brigade and argued that his music was still authentic and true to himself.
Some examples of these responses are:
- “Tyler Childers is a genius. He made a beautiful song and a powerful video that shows the reality of being gay in rural America. He’s not afraid to speak his mind and challenge the status quo. He’s a hero.”
- “This is country music at its best. Tyler Childers tells stories that matter, stories that touch our hearts and souls. He’s not pandering to anyone, he’s being honest and brave. He’s a legend.”
- “I’m so proud of Tyler Childers for doing this. He’s showing us that country music is not just about trucks and beer, it’s about love and humanity. He’s not betraying anyone, he’s inspiring everyone.”
Tyler Childers’ Music Career
In Lawrence County, Kentucky, Tyler Childers was born on June 21, 1991. His family was musical, therefore he sang in the church choir. He began playing guitar and writing songs at 13.
He started playing in Lexington, Kentucky, and Huntington, West Virginia in his late teens. His debut CD, “Bottles & Bibles,” was recorded in a friend’s garden in 2011.
After a few years of writing and performing, he met Kentucky country singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson, who mentored and produced him. Simpson helped him record his 2017 second album, “Purgatory”.
Childers’ breakout record, “Purgatory,” was critically acclaimed and commercially successful. It debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums list, No. 17 on Country, and No. 4 on Americana/Folk.
The album displayed Childers’ unique combination of neotraditional country, bluegrass, folk, honky-tonk, rock, and soul. His songs are full of narration, vision, and passion, reflecting his Appalachian existence.
Some of the most popular songs from “Purgatory” are:
- “Whitehouse Road”, a song about the struggles and temptations of drug addiction and poverty.
- “Feathered Indians”, a song about a passionate and adventurous romance.
- “Lady May”, a song about tender and faithful love.
In 2018, Childers won the Emerging Artist of the Year award at the Americana Music Honors & Awards. He also performed at several music festivals, such as Bonnaroo, Newport Folk Festival, and Stagecoach.
In 2019, he released his third album, “Country Squire”, which was also produced by Simpson. The album continued Childers’ musical evolution and experimentation and featured more diverse sounds and influences. It also reached No. 1 on the Country Albums chart and No. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Some of the most popular songs from “Country Squire” are:
- “House Fire”, a song about a fiery and reckless relationship.
- “All Your’n”, a song about devoted and grateful love.
- “Ever Lovin’ Hand”, a song about loneliness and masturbation.
In 2020, Childers released his fourth album, “Long Violent History”, which was a surprise release that consisted mostly of instrumental fiddle tunes, except for the last track, which was a protest song about racial injustice and police brutality.
The album was accompanied by a video message from Childers, in which he addressed his white rural listeners and urged them to empathize with the Black Lives Matter movement. He also announced that he would donate all the proceeds from the album to the Hickman Holler Appalachian Relief Fund, which he and his wife Senora May established to support philanthropic efforts in the Appalachian region.
In 2021, Childers performed at the Tiny Desk concert series for NPR Music, where he played four songs from his albums: “Country Squire”, “Bus Route”, “Creeker”, and “All Your’n”. He also received two Grammy nominations: one for Best Country Solo Performance for “All Your’n”, and one for Best Bluegrass Album for “Long Violent History”.
In 2022, Childers released his fifth album, “Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?”, which was a triple album that featured eight original songs performed in three different ways: a live set recorded with his band The Food Stamps, an overdubbed rendition, and a “Joyful Noise” version. The album showcased Childers’ versatility and creativity as a musician, and became his highest-charting album, debuting at No. 8 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Controversies and Issues Surrounding Tyler Childers
Tyler Childers released a surprise album called Long Violent History on September 18, 2020, with largely instrumental fiddle music and a concluding piece about racial inequity and police violence in America. He also created a six-minute video imploring his supporters, particularly his “white rural listeners”, to support Black Lives Matter and sympathize with black victims of violence. Breonna Taylor, a Kentuckian like him, was shot and murdered by police in her house. He wanted his music to enable “real conversations”.
Tyler Childers’ latest album Rustin’ In The Rain will be released on September 8, 2023. He released the album’s first song and music video, In Your Love. The 1950s ballad about two homosexual men in love fighting to survive in rural Appalachia. His buddy, novelist, and poet laureate Silas House wrote the song’s lyrics, saying Childers wanted to share his LGBTQ+ family and friends’ stories. The song’s music video shows two gay miners who are criticized for being males.
Fans and the public have conflicting feelings about Tyler Childers’ new song. Some complimented his boldness and honesty, while others criticized his “woke” song and accused him of forsaking his Southern beliefs and traditions. He has incorporated Christian imagery and ideas in certain songs but has also criticized institutionalized religion, which has raised questions about his religious views. Some say Childers is attempting to please both his country followers and his coastal hipster supporters, but this is untenable.