Unparelled Growth: Kentucky’s Tyler Booth Shines At Headliners In Louisville
If you’re new to Capture Kentucky, welcome. If you’re here once again, welcome back! Either way, you’ve likely arrived upon this article because of Tyler Booth. The young man from Wolfe County is in the midst of completing his first solo headlining tour. With a stop at Headliners Music Hall in Louisville being the focus here.
Capture Kentucky has been a constant supporter of Tyler since he began his career path in music, so I decided to use this opportunity to give some insight into that relationship as we recap his performance from Saturday night.
I have known the Booth family for a very long time. Somewhere between 15 and 20 years or so. Tyler’s Dad, Jason, managed Tyler’s Uncle Gene’s band, Stitch Rivet. We worked together often then and found that we all had shared interests with a love for music that had us become friends very quickly. At that time, Tyler was probably around eight years old. A little man that loved all kinds of music, but one that had a front-row seat to the sacrifices and drive it takes to become a successful musician. You may even notice a familiar face on the bass in the video below, Mr. Kevin Allen.
Stitch Rivet – “Frankenstein:”
Those experiences are now paying infinite dividends, and are a crucial part of TyBo’s journey. So let’s take a look at where he is today, in comparison to his beginnings on the stage.
Back in 2017, Capture Kentucky was a site in its’ infancy, but one with a clear purpose. Help folks pursuing their dreams in an often shady business. To be one of the good guys, a light, a conduit, a believer, and a friend. That’s also the year that Tyler Booth really began focusing on making music into his career. A perfect storm, if you will, for us both.
Check out this young and baby-faced Tyler back in 2017.
What I saw on the Austin City Saloon stage for the first time back in 2017, was a young man that had a humongous voice, but lacked the control he needed. He had this unique voice the entire time, but he didn’t understand the tool he possessed. He was very shy, and often nervous. So much so, that he kept his eyes closed on stage way more than he kept them open. He was scared to death. Now don’t think I’m bashing Tyler here, because I promise that I am not. I’m merely painting the picture of Tyler’s beginnings to show you just how far he has come, in a relatively short time.
Austin City Saloon was the PERFECT stage for Tyler to grow up on. He had his buddy Dillon Carmichael, he had George Molton who really took Tyler under his wing. And just as important, he had the full support of Austin Brashear and Austin City Saloon. They saw the same potential that I did, and they gave him the chance to prove himself. And boy, did that young man prove himself.
When Tyler connected with Phil “Philbilly” O’Donnell in Nashville, that’s when things hit hyperspeed for Tyler. He had one of Nashville’s best songwriters, not only believe in him, but he taught Tyler to believe in himself. That relationship is the absolute pivotal moment where TyBo became Tyler Booth. He got what seemed like decades worth of studio time with Philbilly as he had him singing demos, cutting songs he’d written, cutting songs other big-time Nashville songwriters had written, recording covers of songs that Phil had released previously, just turned him into a studio rat, much like an athlete being a gym rat. BUT, most importantly, he showed Tyler what he was capable of. He co-wrote a ton of songs with Tyler, and immediately turned around and recorded them. Coaching Tyler along the way. Encouraging him to push his voice. Showing him his limits. Teaching him the art of polishing a vocal once it’s controllable. Philbilly was, and is, the Yoda to Tyler’s Luke Skywalker.
From there, Tyler’s creativity has blossomed, and he is now one of the young songwriters in Nashville whom everybody wants to write with. I’ve been privy to hearing quite a few songs over these last five years that haven’t seen the light of day yet, and you will have to trust me on this one, Tyler is just now getting his feet wet. The catalog of songs he has in his back pocket is going to push him further than he could ever imagine. So stay tuned. You’re going to look back at this article in a few years and understand exactly what I’m saying here now. TyBo’s career is a rocket that’s ready to launch.
Now let’s talk about this young man and his first headlining tour. The “Country Gang” tour has seen Tyler hit several markets where he wasn’t sure what to expect, but each time, he’s been blown away by the responses. Louisville was no different. He’d played maybe three shows in Louisville, so he didn’t know if there would be 10 people or 700. What he was met with, was a great crowd eager to have a good time and celebrate a young man that they believe in wholeheartedly, and on a night when a HUGE rodeo was in town. They weren’t a rowdy drinking crowd, they were there for the music, and for me, that was the thing I was most proud of. People weren’t there to get wasted, just because it was a Saturday night. They were there because of Tyler and that was a beautiful thing.
Reid Haughton is the opener for this tour. He’s a young man from Alabama who hopes he’s about to launch his own career in music into orbit. I wasn’t able to catch much of Reid’s performance, as I was catching up with everyone, but what I did see was really good. He’s very comfortable on the stage, and he came out of the gate covering Tyler Childers’ “Whitehouse Road.” Doing so in Kentucky certainly won some favor with me. He has a very warm, almost familiar tone that serves him very well.
Reid’s most recent single, “Got The Girl.”
I’m looking forward to hearing the music that Reid told me he just finished recording. After the show, he informed me that they basically cut the upcoming record live in the studio. Most of my favorite albums were made in that exact manner. So if you’d like a perfect example, listen to the debut record from the Red Clay Strays. They’re also from Alabama btw, as ‘Moment Of Truth’ is probably my favorite record of 2022.
Next up was ole TyBo himself. As the band took the stage, you could feel the energy amping up as Tyler’s intro played, and when he busted through that curtain on the side of the stage, he dropped the hammer on Louisville. Tyler set the tone immediately and he performed like a madman, in every GOOD aspect of that description. He tore through “87 Octane,” and “Greyhound Or A Slow Train,” like Evel Knievel. Absolutely fearless! That is how you open a show, folks.
Next came a song that I hoped would be in the setlist, “In God And Trucks We Trust.” With the F-150 made in Louisville, I had a feeling that that song would go over extremely well, and ya know what, I was right. That was the first song that I really noticed folks starting to sing Tyler’s lyrics back to him. A proud moment for this Kentuckian that I’ll hold onto for a very long time.
After “Already Got One,” and “Where The Living Is,” Tyler hit his stride with “Half A Mind To Go Crazy.” That young man was dancing, spinning, jumping, high-fiving fans, and leaning into people’s cell phones they were filming with. He became an entirely different animal on that stage. He became the entertainer that I never dreamed he’d become back at Austin City. Talk about an artist growing, goodness gracious. I’ll be completely honest here, Tyler Booth’s growth as an entertainer is by far and away, the most growth I’ve ever witnessed. I told Tyler after that first show in 2017, I said to him, “The ears get people in the doors at a show, but it’s your eyes that will keep them coming back. Don’t be afraid to engage folks. Look them in the eyes. Enjoy that moment with people.” He took that tiny bit of advice and ran with it. Like Tyson Gay at the Olympics ran with it. My goodness!!
The next song I want to discuss is “Palomino Princess.” When Tyler’s Dad, Jason, let me hear “Palomino Princess” for the first time, I made the remark that I heard a lot of similarities to George Strait, but still 100% Tyler. I mentioned that his tone and the flow of the song were the best he had produced up to that point. To which Jason replied, “I’m glad you said that. I feel the same way, but I didn’t want to say it.” Well, that song is now his most streamed and downloaded song, so I think we were onto something there. Lol Oh, and you can hear this one for yourselves below.
Tyler and the band performed a few more originals sprinkled between some cover songs, one of which I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention. That would be the Brooks & Dunn song, “Red Dirt Road.” If you’re unaware of the significance of Brooks & Dunn in Tyler’s career, allow me to fill ya in a bit. Tyler was chosen by Ronnie and Kix to do a guest vocal on their comeback album, ‘Reboot.’ Tyler sang “Lost and Found” alongside Kix. That was a HUGE moment for Tyler and his career. So, I was very happy to see Tyler keep one of their songs in his set. And what a perfect choice, it felt like a Tyler Booth song. Do you know how hard it is to make someone feel that way with one of someone else’s biggest songs? Nearly impossible. Hearing how easily Tyler handled that song, was one of my favorite moments of the show. The fans enjoyed it as well, could have been the free merch Tyler was passing out, but my ears said it wasn’t. He also gave us some Waylon and Jamey Johnson. Ya can’t go wrong with that.
The show then took a short pause. And this is the part of the show I’m so excited to tell you about. Why? Because it’s a PERFECT example of the character of this young man. Jeremy Harrel, who is the CEO and founder of the Veteran’s Club in Louisville, presented an award to Tyler for his volunteer work with their non-profit. Tyler loves America and respects our military tremendously, and you could see the pride in his eyes accepting the award. It was a beautiful moment and a glimpse at one of the many reasons this young man is in the position he is in. If you’d like to learn more about the Veteran’s Club and their mission, or if you’re able to donate, you can do so at their website. Just follow this link.
Tyler followed that up by performing Toby Keith’s anthem, “Courtesy Of The Red, White & Blue” on his acoustic. I mean, of course he did! How could he not?!
Now I mentioned how I heard qualities of George Strait in Tyler earlier, so I was thrilled, and a bit surprised, when Tyler performed two King George songs acoustically. He gave us “Check Yes Or No,” and “Amarillo By Morning.” During these two songs, which you’ll be able to watch in a few paragraphs, I saw just how professional Tyler has become. I recorded these two songs, hoping to catch one of Tyler’s songs, but I caught a moment that makes my point better than anything I could ever type.
Watch how Tyler nonchalantly makes adjustments to his in-ear monitors. He never misses a beat, changing his timing on the songs as he did so. Watch how he stops to crack a joke about folks not knowing the words to “Amarillo By Morning.” Watch how incredibly comfortable that young man is on stage.
Tyler is truly at home on stage now. His humbleness keeps his confidence from becoming arrogance, and his love for performing is on full display, so sit back and witness what I’m saying for yourselves.
Pretty. Freaking. Awesome. Right?!
fired right back up with performances of some of my personal favorites. Specifically, “Drink It Up,” “If We Make It To Mexico,” and Tyler’s own favorite from his EP ‘Grab The Reins’, “Ghost Town.” “Ghost Town,” in particular, was probably the best vocal performance of the night. The warmth and tone of his voice was even better than the studio performance. A definite highlight.
Tyler jumped into the crowd at one point. He even went a little Coyote Ugly on the back bar at Headliners performing atop the bar on the back wall, before he jumped down and did a little dancing with some ladies in the crowd. He was all over the place and folks were losing their minds. It was one of those crazy, but really cool moments that folks store in their memory banks.
The band eventually wrapped up their set with “Hank Crankin’ People,” but you know daggum good and well Tyler was not going to miss an opportunity for an encore in his home state. Let me tell ya, we got way more than anyone of us expected.
Tyler brought up Reid Haughton to help him finish off the night with the band as they performed the Hank, Jr. classic, “Family Tradition.” Again, because of course he did! Every show deserves some Hank, Jr. Duh! Lol
It was after that performance that we got something very special. I want to preface this with the fact that Tyler isn’t easy on his guitar when he’s playing. So it was no surprise that his acoustic was beyond tuning after the set he put on. Luckily, he borrowed his guitarist, and best friend, Travis White’s Les Paul to play us a few intimate songs. If you know me at all, stripped-down performances are what I live for. I just can’t get enough of them, so this was a real treat.
Tyler played three songs. One of which he hadn’t played since 2017. Tyler started with his recently released Post Malone cover, “Feeling Whitney,” then he joked that he may not remember the lyrics to “Surrender,” because had been so long since he last performed it, but he was going to sing it anyway. He didn’t forget, and he killed it. Absolutely perfect.
Then, he ended the night with a song that means so much to Tyler. I mentioned Tyler’s Dad, Jason earlier. See, he’s a large part of Tyler’s success as well. He manages Tyler and he attends every single show that he can. So when Tyler performed “Hey Dad,” I smiled like the Cheshire Cat. It was absolutely beautiful and dang near a fairy tale ending to a night that those in attendance will never forget. Don’t take my word for it though, you can enjoy it below!
We witnessed a very special night on this young man’s very first headlining tour. He won’t be playing smaller clubs like this for very long, so I strongly suggest you make it to one of these shows. If you’re in or near Kentucky, make your way to the Manchester Music Hall in Lexington on November 25th. You can dance off all the calories you will eat the day before. I wish I could join ya, because you’re going to have a blast!
Thanks for reading. Love y’all!!