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Tyler Childers Helps Propel Kentucky Forward At The Paramount In Ashland

Ashland, Kentucky – The Appalachian Regional Commission held their conference in Ashland recently. Their goals are to help Appalachia continue to grow both economically and socially. Their purpose is primarily focused on collaboration and community.

While several events were held, the Crown Jewel took place at the historic Paramount Arts Center.

The beautiful Paramount Marquee

The night began with Huntington, West Virginia’s Charlie Brown Superstar. Tyler Childers fans know CBS from his ‘Joyful Noise’ remix versions included on Tyler’s album, ‘Can I Take My Hounds To Heaven.’ He provided a set of classic songs that had his own spin. Hearing dance beats behind songs from Hank Williams to The Kentucky Headhunters, isn’t something you experience every day. It was a good time, and one that made many new fans.

Governor Andy Beshear asked Lawrence County native, Tyler Childers, if he’d perform during the conference as a fundraiser. Tyler happily obliged and was thrilled to be asked. So, since Governor Andy Beshear personally asked Tyler to perform, it was only fitting that he introduced Tyler to the crowd packed into the Paramount.

Kentucky Governor Andy Brashear

He spoke glowingly about Tyler and how his music has helped shape a new identity for the Appalachian region. It was a heartfelt, sincere introduction that brought about a wonderful smile across Tyler’s face as he took to the stage.

The Paramount is a shining example of collaboration, as is the entire music community in our state. As it is often said, a rising tide lifts all ships, and that’s why this entire event was the perfect spark to ignite the ARC mission.

Now, let’s get into the show itself. Tyler and his band, The Food Stamps, took the stage to a deafening crowd that was the driving force behind the electricity in the air. The anticipation of seeing such a huge star in a 1400 capacity venue was palpable. It was beautiful. Btw. That phrase will be coming up a lot as we move forward.

Before we dive into the set, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something that I was feeling on Monday night. See, life is weird sometimes. I’ve seen Tyler Childers many times before last night in Ashland. I’ve had the privilege of seeing him relaxed on an early afternoon set at the Moonshiner’s Ball, to Red Rocks, to Railbird, to Rupp Arena. It’s been quite the journey, and one that I’m incredibly blessed to have been a tiny sliver of Tyler’s journey.

Having said that, Monday night was different, in many ways, but it was also the same in all the right ways. We claim Tyler here in Kentucky, but he belongs to the world now. His music has eclipsed our boundaries, and I could not be happier for him, his bandmates, and his entire team.

The atmosphere and diversity on Monday night proved my point way more than anything I could write. I saw High School Principals, legislative members, truck drivers, musicians (Logan Halstead and Jeremy Short were sitting near me), and just about everyone in between, and…it was beautiful. See, told ya. 😉

The setlist contained mostly hits, but there were several surprises that kept things fresh. I’m going to share my favorite moments and some observations I made.

‘Honky Tonk Flame’ opened the night, and let me tell ya, when Tyler got to the line “Especially for a fella from Eastern Kentucky,” the crowd was so loud, that I didn’t actually hear Tyler sing it. That moment told me that we were about to witness something unforgettable, and not to toot my horn, but holy crap was I right. Shew!

Once the first notes of “Triune God” hit, Ashland became Tyler’s congregation. Childers embodied a fire and brimstone preacher on that stage, and the Paramount felt like we were on day three of a week long tent revival. It was, you guessed it, beautiful. Oh. My. Lanta. What an amazing moment to experience.

Let me preface this next section by saying, “Peace of Mind,” is the only song that Tyler has changed from its original form, that I had any regrets that the new version was what was recorded. The lyrics absolutely suit the waltz version that was recorded, and it was 100% the correct choice, but man, did I love that faster version.

Then, Monday happened. We were given an accapella version of “Peace Of Mind,” where pianist Chase Lewis was Tyler’s only accompaniment. Forget both of the previous versions, Tyler and Chase gave me full body chicken skin for the entire song. In fact, I have it now as I write about that moment. I hope and pray that this version is recorded, it absolutely blew my mind. In fact, that song was my favorite performance of the night.

Tyler touched on the fact that Billy Ray Cyrus recorded the music video for “Achey Breaky Heart” there at the Paramount, and he even got in a little fun jab in before delivering “All Your’n.” Which was one of the loudest choir moments that the crowd chose to partake in.

Next was “Purgatory,” and the ending was a moment that had me feeling like a Dad watching his child pull off something sly. Tyler has this thing where he ends a song by singing a chorus as an outro, but he will cut the last line, but subconsciously, you’re singing it and likely didn’t even notice. Tyler did that to end “Purgatory,” and he had a grin wider than the backhoe tires he sang about. I became the Cheshire Cat myself when I saw that big ole grin.

Childers has been working hard on learning to play the fiddle, so it was really great to see his progress on two new songs. I’m not entirely sure the name of the first song, I believe it’s something like “Cluck Old Hen.” Tyler sat down and joined Professor Jesse Wells as they played twin fiddles on the instrumental. The second twin fiddle song was another new song called, “Tom Cat and the Dandy.” There are a few live videos out there of the entire band performing that one, but we were treated to something special. Tyler and Jesse sat facing each other as they performed. It was fascinating to watch. His focus was intense, and he often closed his eyes as he played and sang. We got a glimpse of Tyler’s passion and his dedication to his craft.

Next came the acoustic trifecta, as I like to call it. Tyler usually does an acoustic section at his shows. It gives the band a break, and it allows a deeper connection with the music and the audience. This section was unbelievable in Ashland. Why? Because it seemed like every single person in that audience sung every single line of “Lady May,” “Nose On The Grindstone,” and “Follow You To Virgie.” I was transported back to Red Rocks, where I first noticed that deepened connection. It was beautiful, in every single way.

We got taken back to church as the band rejoined Tyler for “Old Country Church,” and “Take My Hounds To Heaven.”

An interesting observation hit me at one point. Childers released his new EP on Friday, and I expected we would hear quite a few songs from ‘Rustin’ In The Rain,’ but we only saw, ‘In Your Love.’ Which had a MASSIVE sing-a-long by the way. That was a bit surprising, but we were treated to several gems, so that was no big deal really.

As the night began to wind down, we were treated to two of my personal favorite TimmyTy tunes. The raw emotional vocals of “Creeker” will forever be make that song one of my top three songs ever written.

Then came the funky as hell, Stevie Wonder-esque intro to “House Fire,” I was like a kid in a candy shop on a Saturday morning. You could not have wiped my smile away, no matter how hard you tried.

The band ended the night with “Universal Sound.” As they left the stage, Tyler took a moment to tell the crowd that he doesn’t do encores, so the next song was it. No need to stick around in hopes of another song. Childers ended the night with a fantastic performance of “Shake The Frost.” The emotional subtleties in his delivery make that song timeless. It was……..yep, beautiful.

So there ya have it. I hope you enjoyed the article and photos. It felt good to be back at it again, and I appreciate ya stopping by for a bit. Remember, we always need to support the artists, otherwise, we lose the art. Love y’all!