‘American Idol’ Contestant Blows Judges Away With Performance Of “Rock Salt & Nails,” Which Was Famously Recorded By Tyler Childers

Max American Idol
American Idol

“I’m eighteen, and I look like James Dean…” 

The mantra Lionel Richie instilled in American Idol contestant Max Dasher after his killer audition. Max Dasher from Black Mountain, North Carolina, walked into the audition room more nervous than a squirrel being chased by a dog, but didn’t the star shock of singing in front of Katy Perry and Luke Bryan get to him, letting his southern drawl shine.

Singing the Utah Phillips song Tyler Childers famously covered on his Live on Red Barn Radio I & II album, “Rock Salt and Nails,” Dasher steps up to center stage and strums his guitar while delivering the lyrics with soul and grace.

“By the banks of the river, where the willows hang downAnd the wild birds they warble with a low moaning sound…”

From the first notes, the judges are smitten with his tone, which is unsurprisingly very reminiscent of Childers.

“You have that sparkle….it’s the stuff. There’s an undeniable authenticity…it’s like a gold rush.” 

Katy Perry tells him after sitting down from her standing ovation. Luke Bryan then gets up to give Dasher some swagger tips. Telling him to re-walk into his audition but acting like he owns the place- giving off the confidence that matches his powerful vocals.

“What I love about you is you just did your audition exactly the way I would have. Freaking out, playing the guitar like you’re trying to break a string. If we can get you to breathe and calm down and understand that you’re pretty damn cool…that you’ve got a little bit of magic to ya.”

As much as American Idol is pretty corny, and rarely ever produces a legit star, it’s pretty cool to see people auditioning these days with songs from artists like Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan and Whiskey Myers. Times are a changing…

With all three judges saying yes, Max is on his way to Hollywood.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock