On This Date: Tyler Childers Changed My Life When He Released ‘Purgatory’ In 2017

Tyler Childers country music
David McClister

There are albums that you like, albums that you fall in love with, and then there’s albums that change your life.

I haven’t been the same person since Tyler Childers’ released Purgatory, if that gives you any indication of where I fall.

On this date in 2017, he released his second studio album and turned the country genre on it’s head, becoming the wildly popular independent country act that caught the ear of a coal miner in Eastern Kentucky, to a frat guy or sorority girl at your nearest college town alike.

And while I was no sorority girl, I’ll never forget the first time I heard “Feathered Indians” riding around in my friends jeep in my college town of Boone, North Carolina back in 2017.

Being in Appalachia, I resonated so deeply with many of the themes and sentiments on the album, though it’s obvious that many of them are universal as is evidenced by the wild success of the record and everything Tyler’s done since.

Produced by Sturgill Simpson and David R. Ferguson, this particular project was a large part of the reason Childers has become a household name for fans of all genres of music, and has continued to remain at the forefront and easily one of the genres most recognizable and worthy artists.

Purgatory peaked at #1 on the US Billboard 200, nearly cracked the top 10 at #11 on the US Top Country Albums chart (which says a lot about the state of country music back then), number four on the US Folk Albums chart, and number three on the US Independent Albums chart, and has since been certified Platinum by the RIAA.

Of course, these days, Tyler has removed a lot of the fan-favorites from this album from his set list, mostly due to the fact that he no longer personally relates to them and has since found sobriety and has moved on with his life.

But even though you’re unlikely to hear them at a concert anymore, songs like “Feathered Indians” and “Whitehouse Road” put him on the map for a reason, and are the reason I first fell in love with his music.

And since this album came out, we’ve seen a revolution of sorts in terms of independent artists gaining popularity, notably and most prominently a guy named Zach Bryan (who is now signed to a major label in Warner Records), who was deeply inspired by Tyler and his style and sound and is kind of taking of the genre at the moment.

To say Purgatory changed the game feels like an understatement, and is easily one of the best albums released not only in country, but music as a whole, in the last decade.

So thanks, Tyler, for giving me hope in country music again and giving that little college girl in Appalachia a helluva reason to be proud of it… the bad, the ugly, and the good that far outweighs it all.

I know what I’ll be listening to today…

“Feathered Indians”

“Whitehouse Road”


“Lady May”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock