Tyler Childers Recalls Crying In A Steakhouse With His Dad As A Kid Because People Were Drinking Beer

Tyler Childers country music
Presley Ann/Getty Images for Stagecoach

On the heels of his new studio album Rustin’ in the Rain, Tyler Childers is opening up about the evolution of his career.

In an feature interview with his friend Silas House for The Bitter Southerner, Tyler spoke in-depth about his decisions as an artist with this new project, specifically his reasoning and thought process behind his recent “In Your Love” music video, which featured the love story of two gay coal miners.

House, a writer, also wrote the treatment for the music video, and says Tyler had just three requests when it came to what he wanted to be included:

“Childers had only three suggestions: that Casey Campbell, an actor and musician who has appeared in all of his videos, show up in some way; that there be a scene that includes a mule; and, best of all, that it would be a gay love story.

Childers has always been as close as brothers with a cousin who is gay, and he told me that he wanted his cousin to be able to see himself in a country music video.”

Of the mixed reaction and people (mostly online, of course) saying he’s somehow “changed” with this new music, Tyler says that couldn’t be further from the truth:

“I’ve got songs about meditation… I’ve got a redneck commentary on reincarnation.

For anyone to think that I’ve veered off in some direction that I’ve never been on … [they] weren’t digesting those lyrics.”

But one of my favorite parts of the conversation came when Tyler talked about his faith and how his raising in the church greatly influenced who he is today.

He says he was a “very sensitive child,” who grew up relatively isolated deep in a holler in eastern Kentucky, where he was raised with his sister and surrounded by family and lots of cousins.

Tyler was always active in his church and youth group, though he says it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows… there was a whole lot of fire and brimstone, too, which is certainly not uncommon in a lot of churches in the southern Appalachian portion of the country.

He explained that he believes his parents were never trying to scare him by taking him to church every Sunday and Wednesday, quite the opposite, I would think, but that ended up being the case for a while:

“I don’t think my mom and dad… went, ‘We’re going to take him on Sundays and Wednesdays and scare him to death,’ but that’s what it did.”

He added that those weekly sermons caused him to be deeply concerned with his own soul, and everybody else’s, as he laughed telling the rather comical, but illuminating, story of going to a steakhouse in Ashland, Kentucky with his father as child, and bursting into tears in the middle of the restaurant.

His dad of course tried to figure out what was wrong, to which Tyler told him:

“My dad said, ‘Why are you crying?’ And I said, ‘They’ve got beer; they’re going to hell.’”

I just love the whole visual of that, and it definitely seems to be the case that faith is still a huge part of his life, as Tyler released a gospel album last year called Can I Take My Hounds to Heaven?

It’s also not uncommon for people in that region who are deeply religious to be totally sober, and in many cases (I’m speaking from personal experience here), it’s pretty frowned upon to drink at all, just to give that story a little more context as to why Tyler might’ve been so upset to see that as a child and how funny it really is hearing him say that. Of course, it’s also an area plagued with addiction and substance abuse, but that’s a conversation for another time.

If you know, ya just know…

And of course, it’s the best decision for many people to totally stay away from alcohol, and Tyler himself is now sober as well after having some personal struggles with drugs and alcohol as a young adult when he first started in his career, but it doesn’t make the story any less funny in my humble opinion.

In the feature, Tyler also went pretty in-depth on that and how he’s trying to be the best example he can for his one-year-old son going forward which is part of why he continues to stay sober, and I definitely recommend reading the entire story because it’s a really well-done interview and great insight into who Tyler really is.

And speaking of that gospel album, let’s cue it up…

This one just doesn’t get old:

“Way of the Triune God”

“Old Country Church”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock