Capture Kentucky has been honored to be a small part of the Kentucky music family for nearly three years. We’ve witnessed so many great moments and seen several artists outgrow the confines of our Commonwealth. The Mountain Arts Center has become a rite of passage for artists as they climb the ranks, so on Saturday it was time for Tyler’s journey.
That room has hosted several great Kentucky artists and on Saturday night in Prestonsburg, everyone in attendance became a part of history as Tyler Booth came home for a show at the Mountain Arts Center.
What I just stated, may seem like an exaggeration, so ultimately we need to allow time be the judge and jury, but I saw so many indicators on Saturday that I’m going to simply say that I’m all-in on Tyler Booth.
See, Tyler Booth is a very special artist for Capture Kentucky, but more importantly, he’s a special young man to me on a personal level. I’ve known Tyler and his family for years and while that may cloud some folks judgment, I assure you that I do not allow that relationship to do so. Having said that, I’m going to do my best to help you see, hear and understand why this young man is destined to be a Country superstar.
Before we get to that though, we need to discuss the performances of Chelsea Nolan, and the Laid Back Country Picker.
First up was Chelsea Nolan. We have a great working relationship with the Mountain Arts Center and the fine folks there allowed us to showcase Chelsea in the lobby before the doors were opened to the main room.
Chelsea brought her acoustic guitar and gave those in attendance a performance that only she could deliver. Most artists are guarded and find it difficult to open up about the factors that spark the creativity to write a song, Chelsea is completely on the opposite end of that spectrum.
With Chelsea, the journey to the stage is just as important as the songs she performs. Chelsea’s personality is always on display and her banter is so refreshing and enjoyable, that for many folks, her stories are an equal part in their desire to see her perform.
Chelsea performed several songs to the ever-growing lobby crowd. She began the night with two classics. She performed Roger Miller’s classic “Oo-De-Lolly” from Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’ and followed that up with Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”. Those two songs are perfect examples of who Chelsea is. Always fun, never afraid to make things weird, and wonderfully folksy with a raspy voice for the ages.
Chelsea followed that up with several of her songs that delighted those in attendance. Songs like “Silver Line”, “That Way” (A personal favorite of mine that you can watch Chelsea perform here.), and “Build A Fire”. The latter of which landed Chelsea a performance on a Ted Talk, which you can see below.
If you aren’t aware of Chelsea as an artist, I highly suggest you treat yourself to getting to know her and her music.
Next up was the one and only, Laid Back Country Picker (LBCP). Laid Back is a Kentucky educator in both music, and the classroom. His appeal is equal parts comedy, musicianship, charisma and storytelling.
Accompanied by his main squeeze in Honey, Laid Back has delighted fans all over our state. He’s certified Inner-Commonwealth ya know. Much like Chuck Berry before him, Laid Back’s band is often filled by a revolving cast of local musicians. On Saturday night, he was joined by the aforementioned Honey, Fridge, Dylan Weed, and the newest addition in Howie Feel, the ukelele player who has a fine taste in hats, as he took the stage wearing one of our hats. Lol
Make no mistake, Laid Back is all about playing good Country music and treating people right. A mantra that has made him the beloved artist that he is today.
Songs like “I Live In The Now”, “Party Line”, and “David Bowie” are set staples and on Saturday we were treated to several new songs from his upcoming new album. Additions like “Country Jesus” and “Kingsport” kept people on their toes until ole LBCP hit ’em with his knockout punch in “Magoffin County Cadillac”.
“Magoffin County Cadillac” is the term used by many Eastern Kentuckians to describe the former Kentucky State Police Ford Crown Victoria’s that many have bought at auction, Laid Back included. His fleet maintained Crown Vic currently has over 340,000 miles on it and it has delivered him and Honey to nearly every show they’ve performed.
We need to take a moment here and help you understand the importance of Laid Back’s Honey. She does most of the talking for sure, but I found astonishing that she used to do voice over work for Charlie Chaplin. Without Honey, there would simply be no Laid Back.
It was finally time for one of Kentucky’s fastest rising stars in Tyler Booth, to take the Mountain Arts Center stage. A stage that is home to the best lights and sound in our Commonwealth, by the way.
Wolfe County is home to Tyler Booth and he recently made the news as he announced his signing with Sony Music. That signing is one of the reasons that I alluded to when discussing his future for sure, but while that news has made him many new fans, it’s not my main reasoning for why I feel Tyler is going to be a star. In fact, that news is simply the period to my statement.
I’ve been privileged to witness Tyler evolve since one of his very first shows. I’ve seen his growth as an artist. I’ve seen his humbleness always prevail. I’ve seen his path being cleared. I’ve seen his music move folks’ feet and their hearts. I’ve seen Tyler realize he can do this and most importantly, I’ve seen Tyler continue to give back to the Eastern Kentuckians that have helped shape him into the young man he has become.
Those things are what got us to this point where his signing became the period to my statement and they were all on display on Saturday night.
Tyler has a very small sampling of songs that he has released. His first EP contained six songs. He has released one song on YouTube in “Thing Or Two”, and he has released two songs with Sony. That’s only nine songs, yet there were many voices serving as backup singers on nearly every single song.
Tyler’s set included four of the six songs from his EP. Those included were “If We Make It To Mexico”, “Greyhound Or A Slow Train”, “Bar High”, and “Hank Crankin’ People”. We’ll discuss the latter in just a bit.
Tyler performed one song released by Sony in “Long Comes A Girl”, he performed “Lost And Found” by Brooks & Dunn (The song that Tyler has a guest vocal on with Kix Brooks), one of the first songs he wrote in “Asphalt Outlaw”, and several covers from folks like Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Waylon Jennings, George Strait and Jamey Johnson. The rest were all brand new songs, all of which were great. I want to focus on a select few songs and moments to illustrate why I feel Tyler and this show was so special.
As an intro of songs that influenced Tyler played, the band took the stage. As that intro ended, the roar of a muscle car smoking the tires blared through the MAC and Tyler came running out from backstage as the band then kicked off with the first nee song of the night, the high energy “87 Octane”!
The crowd gave their first real indication of what kind of night we were in for. Folks were dancing in the aisles and Tyler quickly let them know that he too was ready for a Saturday night dance party!
As the set continued, TyBo and the boys settled on Tyler’s brand new song, “Long Comes A Girl”. The song and music video had certainly made their rounds with those in attendance as there were several folks around me singing the lyrics alongside Tyler. It was one of my favorite moments on the night.
As I mentioned, Tyler was chosen by Brooks & Dunn to sing alongside Kix Brooks on their ‘Reboot’ album that featured the likes of Luke Combs, Jon Pardi, Ashley McBryde, Cody Johnson, Midland, and Kane Brown. Needless to say it was a rather big ordeal. Tyler contributed to their classic hit, “Lost And Found.”
Quick, fun fact for ya, Ashley McBryde ran into Tyler in Nashville and told him that she’s a huge fan of his voice. I mean, ain’t we all? Lol
As Tyler and the Asphalt Outlaws were playing “Lost And Found”, I took a moment to watch the faces in the crowd. It was at that moment when I saw just what Tyler meant to so many in attendance. You know the look your grandmother gave you when you had all A’s or did something that she was proud of? That’s what I saw in most every face in the first ten rows. Tyler is theirs. He fills them with pride and love.
After several new songs like, “Neon Life”, and “Beautiful Outlaw”, Tyler took the stage by himself. Standing alone in the spotlight, Tyler delivered a very clear and honorable message. He began with performing the Nine Inch Nails penned classic “Hurt”. Most folks only know the Johnny Cash version, which is what Tyler chose to perform. He dedicated the song to the many and to anyone facing addiction. Southeastern Kentucky, much like the rest of the United States, has had way too many drug overdoses.
Tyler then told us about his personal beliefs and that he wasn’t trying to force Jesus or religion on folks, rather that the song, “Clean Dirt”, was about his personal relationship with God. Needless to say, the message was loud and clear to those in attendance.
We all witnessed a very rare occurrence that night. An artist that is really just beginning his career, played a song that few had heard, and the song warranted a 35-second standing ovation. THAT is the sort of connection that only happens with an artist that has already been established for quite some time. And it was in that moment, that I was all-in on this young man.
Fighting to hold back his tears, Tyler thanked everyone for the standing ovation, and that moment was the closest glimpse that folks got of the heart of Tyler Booth. Tyler is such a kind and gentle soul, but when he’s on that stage, he has grown into an intense performer that will be delighting crowds for a very long time.
We were then treated to a terrific version of Brantley Gilbert’s “My Kinda Party”, but it was the performance of “In God And Trucks We Trust” that caught my ear. I was able to catch the soundcheck earlier that day and that’s where the band played that song for the very first two times together. I felt it was special then and I couldn’t wait to see the reactions of those in attendance.
Needless to say, really, but the crowd went nuts over “In God And Trucks We Trust”. My gut tells me that both “Clean Dirt”, and “In God And Trucks We Trust” will be staples in Tyler’s set for years to come.
Tyler dropped another new song on us in, “In My Blood”. Then he dedicated “Stone Cold High And Dry” to his buddy Kash Daniel, who was in attendance. Kash is a native of nearby Paintsville. He just finished up his Senior season on the University of Kentucky football team. The team Captain will graduate this Spring from UK.
As I mentioned, I was already all-in on Tyler and his performance. I really didn’t need any more moments to sway me, but then guitarist Shawn Durr hit the first notes of “Hank Crankin’ People” and the Mountain Arts Center lost it’s collective mind! People were screaming the lyrics back with everything they had in em and it was absolutely beautiful.
Usually, we would stop the story here, but I have to share a tad bit more. Tyler finished his set around 10PM. He told the folks that he’d be at his merch table shortly after his set. My guess is that 90% of those in attendance formed a line to buy merch with hopes of meeting Tyler. Every. Single. Person. Did indeed get to meet Tyler. From autographs to selfies, Tyler spent right at two hours with his fans. Why? Because this young man not only cares, he gets it.
Y’all hold on tight, because ole TyBo is about to be take off like a rocket.