Tyler Childers (Country)

There is a place between a man’s lips and his heart that bellows without any bitter interference.  As a young boy on Sunday mornings in Pine Top, Kentucky at the Omaha Bible Church, I first experienced the sweet mountain bellow from the ladies that would sing solo hymns without any accompanying instruments or electrical amplification.  The best part of going to church to me has always been the music. I can’t help but wonder if any ladies of the mountain imprinted that sweet bellow on a young Tyler in some southeastern Kentucky church because he sure bellows from that sweet spot that only pain can orchestrate.

I can’t tell if Tyler is from Paintsville or Louisa. Kentucky. He sings about Hindman and Virgie which is a half days walk from where most my family line runs hot. So maybe I’m naturally partial to this artist.  Maybe it has to do with Sturgill Simpson co producing Tyler’s soon to be released “Purgatory” album. Maybe it has to do with his lyrics bringing home the stories of life that know my own breath so well. Maybe it has to do with a little heathen having sat in a church pew in Pine Top, Kentucky so many years ago. I’m partial to Tyler Childers music and I can’t see no good reason not to be.

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“The preacher raised a finger. He plunged it into the Bible, his eyes roving the benches. When the text was spread before him on the printed page he looked to see what the Lord had chosen. He began to read. I knew then where his mouth was in the beard growth.

“‘The sea saw it and fled: Jordan was driven back. The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs. Tremble, thou earth…’ ”

He snapped the book to. He leaned over the pulpit.

“I was borned in a ridge-pocket,” he said. “I never seed the sun-ball withouten heisting my chin. My eyes were sot upon the hills from the beginning. Till I come on the Word in this good Book, I used to think a mountain was the standingest object in the sight o’ God. Hit says here they go skipping and hopping like sheep, a-rising and a-falling. These hills are jist dirt waves, washing through eternity. My brethren, they hain’t a valley so low but what hit’ll rise agin. They hain’t a hill standing so proud but hit’ll sink to the low ground o’sorrow. Oh, my children, where are we going on this mighty river of earth, a-borning, begetting, and a-dying – the living and the dead riding the waters? Where air it sweeping us?”- James Still (excerpt from River of Earth)

 

Car Seat Headrest (Indie Rock)

On occasion, I run into artists that take me to places of almost pure feeling. It can be feelings of joy, peace or of guilt and angst. This band takes me from joyful peace to angst and back to joy in nanoseconds. Don’t let me forget to make note of the beautiful harmonies….Heavenly, blissful harmonies.

Been listening to this band for a little over a month. Genius at work here on what lies under the tip of the iceberg of my consciousness. There’s a great number of spirits at play, dancing from other realms with ours where Car Seat Headrest echoes.

These are beautiful artists creating good medicine for the souls that share these times.

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“For myself, I cannot live without my art. But I have never placed it above everything. If, on the other hand, I need it, it is because it cannot be separated from my fellow men, and it allows me to live, such as I am, on one level with them. It is a means of stirring the greatest number of people by offering them a privileged picture of common joys and sufferings. It obliges the artist not to keep himself apart; it subjects him to the most humble and the most universal truth. And often he who has chosen the fate of the artist because he felt himself to be different soon realizes that he can maintain neither his art nor his difference unless he admits that he is like the others. The artist forges himself to the others, midway between the beauty he cannot do without and the community he cannot tear himself away from. That is why true artists scorn nothing: they are obliged to understand rather than to judge. And if they have to take sides in this world, they can perhaps side only with that society in which, according to Nietzsche’s great words, not the judge but the creator will rule, whether he be a worker or an intellectual.”- Camus