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.

Links to Tyler Childers




“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)



Utah Phillips (Folk)

While looking through my Facebook feed today, Utah came to mind. A well-headed friend described the violent street protesters as Anarchists. It is not uncommon for violent protesters that riot against the state to be labeled as Anarchists. It does bother me when I see the label used this way, but accept that it is just another example of how the use of language can chisel perspective. I see them as pissed off people that are at the end of their wits and have gone temporarily mad. Others see them as anarchists, and I reckon they are free to do so, as I am free to see them as not. Utah Phillips is probably the best teacher that I have run into through art on the purist form of the idea that is labeled anarchy. It doesn’t mean that he is right, nor that I am right, nor that we are wrong, but the idea minus the label seems very attractive to me personally, although I don’t think that the current environment of my own local economy to the world economy makes it all feasible, unless I were to become a hermit among hermits. No matter to my reality of present existence, I enjoy listening to his art and his practical wisdom. I do think some aspects of Anarchy go against humans’ natural inclination to compete. The idea of living without a boss is extremely provocative, but in reality bosses aren’t going away anytime soon. We are reliant on hierarchies in almost every process of our living within this society.  Those that take the time to see will see authority everywhere that is adapted to and the adaptation is mostly unconcious.

In a world not fucked

Music would not exist

Divided we are most truly free to be ourselves. Conquered, yet freer, because conquered is all we have ever known.