Tyler Childers surprised the country music world with his latest album. Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven saw Childers and The Food Stamps stepping out of their comfort zone. The album’s funky sound also forced listeners to step outside what they expected from the Kentucky native. Recently, the world learned that Tyler kept the fact that they were working on a new album from his band until the last minute.
Before announcing Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven, Tyler Childers and his band sat down with novelist/music journalist Silas House to discuss the record. Previously, Childers released snippets of the conversation that revealed the recording process, his vision for the album, and what inspired him to make the album. In the most recent installment, we learn that Tyler didn’t tell The Food Stamps they were working on a new record. Instead, he let them think they were getting together to jam.
Tyler Childers Kept His Idea for a New Album Uner Wraps
Silas House pointed out that Tyler Childers and The Food Stamps cut the new record in a couple of days. “That must be a real testament to the instinct and the trust that you have with each other. Can you talk a little bit about cutting the new record?”
James Barker (pedal steel) recalled, “The COVID stuff happened and we were off the road there for a long time. It was, by far, the longest break we’d had from it. When it was time to get together, we just thought we were getting together to do some rehearsals.” Barker added that he started brushing up on all of the band’s old material. Then, Tyler Childers came into the studio and “flipped that on its ear.”
Rodney Elkins recalled that they played through “Honky Tonk Flame” before Tyler Childers introduced some new ideas. Bassist Craig Burletic remembered how it all started. “He brought up ‘Old Country Church’ at first. He’s like, ‘You guys remember when we used to play Old Country Church? You think we could do it…’ and it just kind of hung in the air for a second and he was like, ‘funky’.”
Barker remembered that they would all get together for a couple of days every couple of weeks. During those sessions, they jammed on what would become the new record. Finally, Tyler Childers let them know what was going on.
The Big Reveal
Tyler Childers told Silas House that he knew how he wanted the album to sound and had a “rough idea” of the songs he wanted to cut. Then, he discussed why he kept the new record under wraps. “I didn’t want to get in anybody’s head. Didn’t want to jinx the no-hitter,” he said. Childers added that he didn’t want the band coming in thinking, “This is work.” Instead, he wanted them to think it was just “jammin’. Buddies gettin’ together and brushing up.”
“I just kind of eased into it,” Childers said. “I was like, ‘Well, let’s look at this one again and think about it differently.’ Or ‘Here’s a completely new one.’” Tyler added that they got together a few times and worked on the album material. Then, he made the big reveal. He told them, “The next time we get together, we need to call Kenny [Miles], get him in here to hold some buttons down and we’re gonna print it.”