Every chance he gets, Tyler Childers injects authenticity into his songwriting. You can feel that authenticity deep down in your bones as you listen. The recognition of Childers’ 2017 album, Purgatory, was a well-deserved nod to the singer’s ability to add depth to familiar country themes.
In 2017, Childers released his second studio album under his independently-owned record label, Hickman Holler. Produced by fellow Americana musician Sturgill Simpson, the album exceeded the critic’s expectations. It combined a unique, modern country sound while remaining loyal to Americana touchstones both Sturgill and Childers subscribed to.
Childers has never been one to emphasize commercial success. Instead, his music prioritizes sincere songwriting, regardless of whether it gets airplay on the radio. It seemed fans appreciated Childer’s gritty earnestness on the record, as it was certified Gold for selling 500,000 copies.
Tyler Childers’ Purgatory Sheds New Light on Value of Independent Country Music
In addition, Purgatory is the first independently-released album to achieve this recognition without significant radio play in almost 20 years. The last album to do so was Nickel Creek’s This Side, released in 2002.
In September of 2017, the fan-favorite “Feathered Indians” was also certified Platinum for sales of over 1 million. In Nov., two other tracks on the album, “Lady May” and “Whitehouse Road,” were also recognized with certified Gold.
Childers was creating a new era for independent Americana artists. The album’s success kept coming when the sophomore record also became No. 19 on Billboard’s year-end 2020 chart.
The record beat albums such as Luke Bryan’s 2020 album, Born Here Live Here Die Here, and Florida Georgia Line’s 2019 album, Can’t Say I Ain’t Country. Proving you don’t always need high-powered music executives to have commercial success, Childers’ Purgatory demonstrated his staying power.
Three years later, the record has sold 638,178 albums. You can never get tired of listening to this gem, as it regularly receives between 7 and 8 million streams per week.
Childers’ Country Squier (2019) also looks like it’s heading in the same direction. As of now, it’s sold 263,752 albums so far. It’s likely to be certified Gold as well.