Purgatory is Tyler Childers’ debut album, but this release feels so much more mature. As we’d expect, Childers’ young talent harnesses the semi-autobiographical narrative structure of songs in this genre, but Purgatory belies the young age of its composer.
This album is raw. It’s old-school Country too, but with a modern twist of brutal realism that works so well.
The album has range too. The hoedown title track and the up-tempo ‘Born Again’ allow Childers to explore his vocal strength, especially epitomized in the rock grooves of stand out track ‘Whitehouse Road’. ‘Tattoos’ gives us a glimpse at Childers’ melancholy side too.
However, much of this album is anthemic, heralding the coming of age of a teen rebel who found marriage and relative peace. Opening track ‘I Swear (To God)’ sets the bar as a wonderful fiddle-backed chugger that broods over heavy drinking and the morning-after reality.
As a consequence, this album feels lived-in. With strong echoes of early Steve Earle never too far away, Tyler Childers travels a familiar landscape, but this is a journey that feels fresh and solid.
Purgatory is an impressive introduction to a talented newcomer. Childers is a name you need to know. Powerful stuff.
1. I Swear (to God)
2. Feathered Indians
4. Born Again
5. Whitehouse Road
6. Banded Clovis
8. Honky Tonk Flame
9. Universal Sound
10. Lady May
Released: January 2018
Cat: HHR0011 / Hickman Holler/Thirty Tigers