Tyler Childers Discusses the Joyful Noise Version of Fan-Favorite Song ‘Purgatory’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images for Shock Ink)

Tyler Childers surprised fans when he announced his latest album Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven? in early September. That was when we learned it would be a triple album featuring three different interpretations of eight tracks. The Hallelujah versions were Childers and his band. Then, the Jubilee version built on that sound with horns, strings, and other instruments. However, it was the Joyful Noise portion of the album that left some fans scratching their heads.

“Way of the Triune God”

The Joyful Noise tracks are like nothing Tyler Childers has ever done before. Where the rest of the collection saw Childers and The Food Stamps diving headfirst into their funky new sound, these tracks were sample-laden electronic arrangements. For these songs, Tyler Childers teamed up with Charlie Brown Superstar to create abstract interpretations of the album’s eight songs.

Recently, Tyler Childers released the second installment of his interview with Silas House. During this segment, he tells the novelist/music journalist about the inspiration behind the Joyful Noise portion of the album. Then, he discusses the electronic rendition of “Purgatory.”

Tyler Childers on Making Joyful Noise

“Looking at it in an abstract way. Just toying with the feeling of each song. That’s what the third installation of the album is about, which is the remixes,” Childers said of the Joyful Noise cuts.

Then, Tyler Childers talked about making the Joyful Noise version of “Purgatory” and his reasoning behind it. He said that he and Charlie Brown Superstar combed through archival audio from a radio show out of Sandy Hook to pull the samples. “I went through the radio program and I found every single broadcast that they had let a woman lead the prayer,” he said.

Baptist Girl, Pray for Me…

“I picked one of my favorite prayers and one that I felt was most fitting for the song and we gave her a solo,” Childers explained. “Then, at the end of it, we took all of those prayer requests and layered them over the top of each other.”

Tyler Childers points out that those who grew up going to a lively Southern church would understand the feeling he was trying to capture. “If you didn’t grow up in that type of church, there’s no way to describe that. That feeling of somebody leading prayer and all of a sudden everybody’s prayers just going straight out the top of this old country church and beyond. That’s powerful,” he explained. “I was hoping to – in some way, shape, or form – at least give a glimpse of what that can look like.”

A Joyful Noise in Purgatory

Listen to the Joyful Noise version of “Purgatory” below. Samples of horns and keys make up the bulk of the upbeat track. Then, somewhere around the middle of the song, we hear the “solo” that Tyler Childers mentioned. The climax comes in the final seconds of the track. We hear one voice lifted in prayer, then more and more pile in on top of it. Before long, it sounds like an entire congregation petitioning The Almighty. If you’ve ever been to a church like that it will take you right back to the hardwood pew.