These days, the internet is making it a little easier for listeners around the world to find independent country music. Artists like Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, Whiskey Myers, 49 Winchester, and others are seeing some success without a massive push from country radio. Instead, their fans find them through Twitter, YouTube, and Spotify recommendations.
Tyler Childers has long been at the top of the list of successful independent artists. Much of that success is linked to his breakout sophomore album Purgatory. Childers released the album in 2017 and it has gone on to become a modern classic. In 2020, the album was certified Gold by the RIAA for sales and streaming equivalents of 500,000 units. Additionally, several tracks from that record brought Childers more precious metal. Recently, the fan-favorite tune “Feathered Indians” became Childers’ first Double-Platinum single and the hits just keep coming.
On August 9th, Purgatory became Tyler Childers’ first Platinum album. Between sales and streaming equivalents, the record has moved more than a million units and it’s still going strong. Tracks from the album have amassed hundreds of millions of streams on Spotify alone. Additionally, Purgatory is currently sitting at number 17 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. That’s one position above Zach Bryan’s latest release, Summertime Blues.
The Secret to Tyler Childers’ Success
Tyler Childers doesn’t get much love from the radio and he’s not constantly doing press to promote his music. However, his five-year-old album is sitting in the top 20 and just received a Platinum certification. So, what is it that makes Childers’ music so great?
There are things about Tyler Childers’ music that definitely sets it apart from the norm. For one, there’s Tyler’s instantly-recognizable voice. His vocal delivery was forged in Appalachian musical traditions, but is undoubtedly his own. Then, there is the music itself – a blend of those same Appalachian sounds and traditional country music. Truly, it’s a match made in heaven. However, it may be something less tangible than that that makes Childers so popular. It’s the authenticity in what he sings.
In a 2019 interview with The Guardian, Tyler Childers laid out his problem with modern mainstream country music. At the same time, he highlighted what he’s doing that many bigger artists aren’t. “The problem with country music,” Tyler said, “is we’ve turned the props into the play. Let’s not Solo cup and pickup truck it to death. Let’s handle this in a smart way. Nobody is thinking about lyrical content, or how we’re moving people, or what’s going on in the background of their minds.”
This Could Be a Good Omen for Independent Country
Tyler Childers is reaping the rewards of his hard work and dedication to his craft. His music resonates with people and that’s what makes it sell. There are plenty of other independent musicians out there that are doing the same thing. Folks like Cole Chaney, Logan Halstead, Drayton Farley, Vincent Neil Emerson, Sierra Ferrell, and countless others are making deeply resonate music.
Tyler Childers just proved that a musician doesn’t need country radio to be successful. Sometimes all you need is – as songwriting legend Harlan Howard once put it – three chords and the truth.