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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Tyler Childers lit a ‘Honky Tonk Flame’ at Bridgestone Arena

Tyler Childers’ performance at Bridgestone Arena displayed his band’s phenomenal instrumental talent and Childers’ beautiful life journey through his lyrics.
Josh Rehders
Tyler Childers performs at Bridgestone Arena, as photographed on April 18, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

From when he was 19 releasing his first album, “Bottles And Bibles,” to 2023’s “Rustin’ in the Rain,” Tyler Childers has captivated people with his lyrical style. He is an artist who uses his songs like diary entries, which has given him a strong following of people who resonate with his life story. On the first leg of his “Mule Pull” tour, Childers came to Bridgestone Arena to give a classic bluegrass-folk performance. 

The night began with a band that’s a blend of old blues and classic country, classifying themselves as Appalachian country soul. 49 Winchester waltzed on stage dressed in the standard country uniform of cowboy hats, jeans and patterned button-up shirts which gave them a rugged aesthetic. I found it comical that most artists use water to clear their pipes while 49 Winchester drank Coors Lite beer. Their look and sound portrayed them as a down-to-earth country band with great riffs and vocals. In terms of their set list, the band has a new album releasing on Oct. 2, so they played some of their newer songs that will be on the album like “Yearnin’ For You” and “I Think I Should’ve Stayed in Tulsa.” All of their songs from “Chemistry” to “Hillbilly Happy” gave the audience a traditional yet innovative sound. Their music is what you would expect to hear in Nashville, especially at bars like Tooties or Honky Tonk Central. 

When it was time for the main act, Childers’ stage setup felt like an old country home opened to the audience. The stage was filled with lamps that you would find at antique stores, potted plants sprinkled around the stage and enough instruments to classify the stage as a music store. Childers and the band walked on stage and immediately started playing, and they didn’t slow down until six songs later. Each song had its own aesthetic with the background screen changing from a forest to a bus to a mountain range and more. The night started with “In Your Love” and “Whitehouse Road,” each with an upbeat energy to them. During this time I thought about how Childers’ voice has such a unique tone and raspy quality that’s subtle yet captivating. After those first few songs, Childers gave many thanks to the audience. 

“This [arena] would be a large and lonely place without you here. There are 110 things y’all could have done with your evening and this is the one you chose to do. Thank you very much,” Childers said. “A lot of you called in a favor to have the youngins’ looked after, taking time off, you’ve traveled from hither to yonder to be here in this moment with us, listening to music and hanging out with friends. Enjoying fellowship because that’s just as important as the music, is the fellowship.”

Childers emphasized this point of the community of music when the band left him on stage to perform solo. It was just him, a stool and an acoustic guitar playing some of his most heartfelt songs that displayed his vulnerability and authenticity. Most of the audience joined him in singing “Lady May” and “Nose on the Grindstone.” It felt like we were all in unison, on the same level. There was no stage or barricades, just music diffusing throughout the room. In between songs, Childers addressed the crowd again. 

“I would like to say thank you again, seriously, this is just wild,” Childers said. “We’ve played around this town, and before we played around this town, I played literally around this town to get enough gigs to make it look like I would be able to play in this town. I really appreciate y’all’s support.” 

After two more emotive solos, the band came back on stage to light the room on fire again. Childers’ intensity changed when singing songs like “Way of the Triune God” and “House Fire.” His facial expressions assisted him in punctuating the lyrics and giving a new type of power to his voice. With a new punch to his performance, Childers informed the crowd of some sad news. 

“We’ve had a wonderful evening, and we hope you have as well. But there’s always that time, where it’s kinda getting close to the end,” Childers said. “And that is what is happening right now. That’s what you’re experiencing, is that it’s getting very close to the end. And I just wanted to let you know, thank you and y’all have a good night.” 

Even with the concert coming to a close, it was evident that the support Childers has had in his career is far from ending. He has the type of voice you could potentially hear at a bar in Nashville. You would stop on the sidewalk and listen closely and hear the intricacies of melancholy and joy in his voice; it’s the type of voice you would tell other people about a week later. Tyler Childers has a palpable connection with people through his honest lyrics. He isn’t afraid of his past, and he uses a raw intensity to entice people to stop and hear him. He is a talent that expresses love, addiction and the beauty of life. Tyler Childers is a storyteller who provides solace and resonance in his music that explores the depths of human emotion. That type of story needs more than one night to express it, which is why Childers got two nights at Bridgestone Arena, and why he should have many more in the future. 

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About the Contributors
Chloe Pryor
Chloe Pryor, Staff Writer and Photographer
Chloe Pryor (‘26) is from Fort Smith, Ark., and is double majoring in psychology and communications studies. When not writing for The Hustler, you can fund her reading, drawing or running late for class. You can reach her at [email protected].
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Former Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
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