ELLN February Music Quick Pick

Each month for our ELLN teleconference this year, I am highlighting an album.  February’s quick pick from our ELLN agenda is reproduced below.  I hope you join us on our Forums or for next month’s call.  If you’re an in-house counsel and not part of the ACC or the Employment & Labor Law Network, you can join ACC and ELLN today and see what we’re all about!  I hope to (virtually) see you soon.

ELLN February Music Quick Pick

ELLN Chair Doug Hass has long been a music buff (he founded country music site Roughstock.com in 1993) and long done a lot of driving for and to work.  That’s given him lots of time to indulge and explore his music interests To help entertain you on your commutes or at the gym, office, home, or on the go, Doug is offering a year-long series of picks that will showcase some of the best albums you may have never heard, or that deserve another listen. We hope that each monthly choice piques your interest in these albums and artists.  These may be titles that you have never heard of, but our hope is that your interest will be piqued and your musical world enriched!

Tyler Childers – Live on Red Barn Radio I & II (Recorded 2013, Released 2018)

Amazon Music – Apple Music – Spotify — Pandora

As the Darrell Scott song made more famous by Brad Paisley and Patty Loveless goes, “In the deep dark hills of eastern Kentucky, That’s the place where I trace my bloodline. And it’s there I read on a hillside gravestone, ‘You will never leave Harlan alive.’”  That’s a haunting song, even if you aren’t from or don’t know anyone from the hollers of rural Appalachia.  This month’s quick pick knows that area well.  Tyler Childers was born in Lawrence County, Kentucky, about 3 hours north of Harlan County on the West Virginia border.  If last month’s pick, Joe Purdy, had grown up in poor, rural Kentucky or West Virginia, his music would probably sound even more similar to Childers’.  For another stylistic comparison, think Jason Isbell and early Drive-By Truckers.

Last month, we started a run of artists that I think sound even better live than they do recorded.  Childers garnered commercial success and mainstream attention with 2017’s Purgatory, with singles like “Lady May,” “Whitehouse Road,” and “Universal Sound.”  However, the best place to start is Live on Red Barn Radio I & II, an 8-song live collection released in 2018 but recorded in 2013 before Purgatory.  The latter may have been the foundation for his current success, but Red Barn Radio tells you more about who he is as an artist.

Even if you aren’t already a Tyler Childers fan, you may have gotten a taste of his music during his appearance on Season 11 of the late Anthony Bourdain’s CNN Parts Unknown when Bourdain opened the season with a profile of rural West Virginia in 2018.  Bourdain and his music producer Michael Ruffino featured Childers’ music throughout, and it made for a perfect score to one of Bourdain’s best episodes.

Live on Red Barn Radio I & II encapsulates Childers’ sound: like Purdy, a fusion of folk and bluegrass, but with the addition of Appalachian flavor.  Childers sings about the flawed beauty of where he grew up, a place of forgotten stories and people.  “Deadman’s Curve” opens the album with the lyric “You can go to hell my dear…” and is the first signal that you are in for a treat. As it is on Purgatory, “Whitehouse Road” is a standout for its delivery and imagery. “Rock Salt and Nails” is filled with memorable lines and classic Americana storytelling. This live collection is a quick listen that will whet your appetite for the rest of Childers’ discography.

I hope you enjoy (or enjoy rediscovering) it!

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