Tyler Childers & The Food Stamps Reveal the Recording Process for ‘Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?’

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

Tyler Childers surprised some fans when he released his latest album. Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven featured a departure in style from Childers’ previous records. However, the new album reflects what fans can expect with they buy a ticket to see Tyler and the boys play live.

Before announcing Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven, Tyler Childers and his band sat down with music journalist/novelist Silas House. During their chat, they discussed the inspiration behind the record and his vision for the project. They also talked about creating the Joyful Noise portion of the album. Over the last month, Childers has released snippets of their conversation. He shared a new installment earlier today that features a discussion about the album’s recording process.

Tyler Childers & The Food Stamps Discuss Recording the New Album

“How do y’all react to me using the word ‘experimentation’ on this record? Would that be a word you all were thinking at all,” Silas House asked. Tyler Childers nodded. Drummer Rodney Elkins replied, “It’s the most different thing I’ve ever done.”

Jesse Wells (guitar/fiddle) said that the experimental nature of some of the songs wasn’t the only different part of the process. He added that Tyler Childers wanted to record the album like a live show. “Tyler treated the album like a show, too. The album was sequenced, when we tracked the record each song in sequence the way it appears on the record,” he added.

Wells went on to say that Tyler Childers wanted the album tracked like a live album instead of a studio album. That allowed them to flow through it like a setlist rather than drilling away at one song for hours at a time. James Barker (pedal steel) said it was a refreshing change. “I’m so used to the process of ‘We’re doing this song right now. So, we’re gonna sit here and drill this song fourteen times,’ or whatever. I don’t think we ever did that on any of ‘em. It was just like ‘We didn’t nail it that time, maybe we’ll get it next pass. Move on to the next song.’ That’s how we did it.”

Experimenting with New Sounds

Barker said that they spent three days in the studio recording and the first day was really just making sure the space was comfortable. On the second day, they recorded the bulk of the Hallelujah versions of the songs. Then, on the third day, Tyler Childers and the band hit the studio with open minds.

“That was the experimental day of the shakers and let’s get Rodney playing my kid’s cricket toys and two-dollar-bill guitar,” he said. Barker went on to say that they used “Every sound we could come up with in our heads that we thought there was a space for… we threw it all at the wall.”