Tyler Childers grew up in the deep dark hills of eastern Kentucky, in the same county that birthed Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs. The Lawrence County native joins the ranks of Kentucky’s most iconic songwriters with his bold debut full-length “Purgatory”.
Childers’ songs give a voice to the plight of Kentuckians making the best of the stark situations they were born into. Country radio is littered with mindless, manufactured lyrics about small town life and cruising dirt roads. “Purgatory” stares down rural existence with an authenticity at times so razor-sharp and macabre you feel like you’re reading a Flannery O’Connor short story. Childers introduces us to dope sick pill fiends, humble mill workers and savage small-town murderers on his 10-track masterpiece.
“Whitehouse Road,” is a hard-edged outlaw country anthem for rural folks combating the trappings of small-town life with white lines and hard liquor.
“Get me drinking that moonshine, get me higher than a grocery bill / Take my troubles to the high wall, throw them in the river and get your fill,” Childers howls on the rollicking ditty that recalls Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road”.
Album closer “Lady May” is a tender portrait of two lovers and finds Childers sobering up from his drunken antics.
“I’ve seen my share of trouble and I’ve held my weight in shame /But I’m baptized in your name, Lovely Lady May,” Childers sings.