Regular readers know I’m a fan of Tyler Childers. He’s a country singer-songwriter from Eastern Kentucky and he combines interesting vocals, his acoustic guitar playing, an excellent mix of country instrumental accompanists with his very creative lyrics. I especially enjoy his ballads, a stand out being “Banded Clovis” on his “Purgatory” album.
The present review is of a live album from 2013. The eight songs include two that were on other albums, namely “Whitehouse Road” from Purgatory and “Bottles and Bibles” from the album of the same name. Listening to some of the other songs I would say you can tell that they come from an earlier period of his song-writing career. They are simpler and less ambitious in terms of imagery and effect. But they’re good and I take them as an excellent addition to my collection. Interestingly two of the songs were written by other artists, “Rock Salt and Nails” by Bruce Utah Phillips and “Coming Down” by John R. Miller. Now I guess I’ll be forced to look up their stuff. How I suffer for my art.
Anyway, if you like Tyler Childers’ other stuff you’ll almost definitely like this live album. Highly recommended.
I ‘ve now had a chance to listen to High Top Mountain a good bit and I can say without a doubt that this is my favorite album by Sturgill Simpson. And that’s because it’s country music. He isn’t experimenting here with other genres and sounds. It’s straight up classic country with plenty of energy, fun lyrics and excellent steel guitar. For me the best songs are:
- Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean
- You Can Have the Crown
- Sitting Here Without You
- Time After All
But honestly, I think they’re all good. Now how rare is that? Most albums have three or four strong songs and the rest weak. This album has twelve songs and they range from excellent to good. They vary from ballads to up tempo rockabilly. I’m just disappointed that his later albums don’t appeal to me as much. Maybe these were all the country songs he wanted to make. Well if that’s so, then I’m glad he made this album and that I found it. I think it’s a keeper.
There is a lot of bad music out there. And there is a lot of bad country music. One of the ways I try to find good music is by association with other good music. Case in point, a friend of mine at work told me about Colter Wall so I checked out his music and really liked it. One of his songs is a cover of the old song Fraulein. On that song is a second singer and looking him up it turned out to be Tyler Childers. So I checked out his music and really liked it. Looking over Childer’s album Purgatory I noticed it was produced by Sturgill Simpson. Now I knew of Simpson. I had his “Metamodern Sounds In Country Music” album and there was one song on that album called Panbowl that was extremely good but overall I was undecided if I was a fan. But now I decided to take another look at Sturgill’s catalog. I listened to his latest album, “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth,” and didn’t really care for it. Then I went back to his first album, “High Top Mountain,” and really liked it a lot. I’ll listen to a lot of it for the next few days and then I’ll finish up this review. But I can say already it’s a solid country album and Simpson is a good singer songwriter. The fact that I didn’t care for his later stuff as much might mean High Top Mountain is more or less all of his stuff I’ll like. That’s okay. Even finding a whole album you like is a feat worth noting. This album is definitely a win.