Kentucky native Tyler Childers released a surprise album on Friday morning (Sept. 18), Long Violent History, via RCA and Tyler’s Hickman Holler Records.
The nine-track album is mostly made of fiddle standards, including “Squirrel Hunter,” “Midnight on the Water,” and more, but it is the closing title track that packs a punch, as the Americana star offers up an original song, crafted in the style of an old-time fiddle tune, that addresses systemic racism.
Now what would you give, if you heard my opinion/Conjecturing on matters that I ain’t never dreamed/In all my born days, as a white boy from Hickman/Based on the way that the world’s been to me. It’s called me belligerent, it’s stuck me for ignorant/But it ain’t never once made me scared just to be./Could you imagine, just constantly worrying/Kicking, and fighting, and begging to breathe.
Childers also released a video explaining the title track and how it shaped the album.
“Back in June when I wrote the song Long Violent History, it was my original goal to continue to make fairly legible sounds on fiddle, and put this album out with no announcements or press,” he explains in the video. “I planned to package it as an old-time fiddle album, and let the piece make the statement on its own, taking the listener by surprise at the end. However there has been concern that the album could run the risk of being misinterpreted if not given some sort of accompanying explanation to set it in context. A writer can write an essay, but the writer can never predict, or control how that essay is interpreted by the reader, be it in a tone of level-headed calmness, or preachy, holier-than-thou, condescending way.”
All net profits from the album will benefit the Hickman Holler Appalachian Relief Fund.
The album follows 2019’s Country Squire, his 2017 breakthrough Purgatory and the 2013 indie release Bottles and Bibles. Childers was named Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2018 Americana Honors & Awards, and was nominated for Best Country Solo Performance at this year’s Grammy Awards for “All Your’n.”
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