I’ll be honest, one of my biggest pet peeves are those fair-weather Tyler Childers fans who claim to be “die hards,” but when you ask them their favorite songs, they can’t get past “Feathered Indians” and “Whitehouse Road.”
Don’t get me wrong, those are both incredible songs in their own right, and I’m happy those songs have exposed true and authentic country music to your average mainstream country fan, but the man has so many great songs to bring to the table that people don’t know about.
One of those songs in particular?
“Bottles and Bibles.”
The song is the title track to his very first album produced back in 2011, and to be frank, it’s the most criminally underrated song in his arsenal (and there’s a lot of them).
I often find myself going back to this album, because depicts of the kind of real life personal battles that many people struggle with growing up in Appalachia.
“Bottles and Bibles” is about a pastor who struggles with alcohol after his wife leaves him. And while struggling with depression and alcohol is difficult enough, he has the added pressure walking the “straight and narrow” that comes with being a man of the cloth.
As every night is filled with “Bottles and Bibles” littering the floor, he loses his wife, and eventually… his life.
Part of the song perfectly depicts why he goes through what he goes through:
“But it’s a hard way to go, on the straight and narrow When everybody in town points a finger at you But they ain’t had to walk with the weight that you’ve hauled They don’t know you at all, but they think that they do.”
This song stands out to me because many times we hold pastors to an unbelievably high standard, and for many reasons we should, but when they come face to face with their own personal battles, as many do every day, we often times are quick to deny them the grace that they afford to so many others in the congregation.
Truly one of the most deep-cutting, raw songs Childers has ever released.
And don’t even get me started on that howling fiddle.
And how about this live version from way back in 2013.