With Purgatory, Tyler Childers delivered an album full of great songs. But with Country Squire, he delivers an album that is not just great, but a full and cohesive listen from start to finish. The album’s titular track sees Childers pining to make a country squire out of a trailer for him and his lady and it’s one of many moments on the album where Olde English and hillbilly vernacular intertwine. It’s raucous and catchy, making for an ideal opener. “Bus Route” vividly recalls the memories of a bus stop taken as a child, from the stern driver to the hopeful childhood love that blossoms into a forbidden teenage romp. What I particularly love about this song is how Childers delicately details every aspect and character mentioned, showing why storytellers like Willie and Prine have endorsed him.
“Creeker” is a song that gets better on each listen, as Childers paints the picture of a man suffering from a serious case of city blues and drowning his sorrows at a corner bar. I love the way Childers delivers his vocals on this track, as it has a nice singalong quality. Who knew heartache could be so catchy? “Gemini” is an astrology based song about pondering life on the road that keeps the flow of the album moving, but is probably the least essential song. For me the song just does nothing to stand out amongst the other tracks. Lead single “House Fire” is a catchy and fun sex jam that I personally can’t get out of my head. In another world this is a hit, even if some Childers fans might find the track to be too straightforward.
“Ever Lovin’ Hand” is one of the best songs you’ll hear all year and it’s about masturbation. On my first listen about 15 seconds in I figured this out and I couldn’t stop laughing. Yet on repeat listens you’ll find a lot of heart and meaning behind this song, as it shows the sacrifice and loneliness of being on the road non-stop. It speaks once again to Childers’ incredible songwriting that he’s able to bring such heart to a topic that you don’t exactly associate with heart.
“Peace of Mind”, along with the final track on the album “Matthew,” are songs that don’t aim to make a point, but rather tell the stories of everyday people and give insight into a reality that doesn’t get talked about. They show a realness you won’t find on your Twitter feed or CNN. And that’s pretty damn important. “All Your’n” best shows the importance of producer Sturgill Simpson’s presence on this album, helping craft an undeniable vibrant sound. It’s funky, it’s soulful, it’s bluegrass and it’s a song that I can play over and over. And most importantly it gives punch to the heartfelt lyrics of Childers.
Country Squire is an incredible album and with its perfectly short run time, you’ll find yourself replaying it again and again. Well done, Tyler Childers.